Tuesday 3 September 2013

A new species of Peruvian Lily from the Talamanca Mountains of Panama.

Peruvian Lilies, Alstroemeriaceae, are a small group of flowering plants found across Central and South America, the islands of the Caribbean and the Falklands. The are members of the Lily order, Liliales, and have relatives in Australia and New Zealand. Some species are cultivated for their edible tubers or for cut flowers for the floristry industry.

In a paper published in the journal Phytotaxa on 30 May 2013, Daniel Cáceres González of the Herbarium of the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí and the Herbarium Senckenbergianum describes a new species of Peruvian Lilly based upon material collected from the cloud forests of the Reserva Forestal Fortuna in the Talamanca Mountains in Chiriqui Province, Panama, during a botanical expedition in 2006.

The new species is placed in the genus Bomarea, vine-like Peruvian Lilies producing clusters of flowers, some of which are cultivated for food or cut flowers, and given the specific name rinconii, in honour of Rafael Rincón Gómez of the Escuela de Biología at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí, a distinguished Panamanian botanist.  Bomarea rinconii is a twining, vine-like plant reaching 3 m in length. It  has large, broad leaves and produces dark reddish-orange bell shaped flowers in April to May; the end of the local dry season. 

Bomarea rinconii growing. Cáceres González (2013).

The plant is only known from a single site, in cloud forest at about 1800 m, and only a few individuals were observed, though the Reserva Forestal Fortuna is not well explored, so there is a possibility of larger populations existing. It is considered to be Critically Endangered under the guidelines of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The approximate location of the Reserva Forestal Fortuna, the only place where Bomarea rinconii has been found growing in the wild. Google Maps.

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