New Orchid species discovered from Sinharaja
A rare new orchid species found from the lowland rainforest Sinharaja in Sri Lanka.
Group of Sri Lankan Researchers unveiled the discovery of a rare new species of Orchid to the world, from the lowland rain forest Sinharaja in Sri Lanka. Their discovery was published as a new scientific report published by international botanic journal Biotaxa.
The white colour orchid, which is slightly smaller in size, has been named scientifically as Gastrodia gunatillekeorum. The naming of the orchard was to tribune two pioneer ecologists of the country Nimal Gunathilaka and Savithiri Gunathilaka at Peradeniya university for their tremendous service to the ecology in Sri Lanka.
The origin of the new orchid species-specific to lowland rain forested part of the Sinharaja forest. The orchid grows on a species of fungus medium native to the Sinharaja region. The fungus grows only in parts of the Sinharaja region. As a result, the growth of this plant is limited. According to researchers' findings, the orchid population is limited to a few hundred plants. Researchers also indicated that this orchid is a rare species that are endangered and unique to Sri Lanka.
Sinharaja lowland rainforest, the new orchid is limited to three small populations and considered endangered. Image courtesy of Champika Bandara.
Pankaja Kumara, a co-author of the research report, says that the Gastrodia gunatillekeorum orchid, found in the lower country of the Sinharaja forest, resembles G. spatulata, a small white flower native to Indonesia. Researchers say that there are close to ninety flowering species in the Asia Pacific region. According to their identification, the Gastrodia gunatillekeorum orchid emerges in February and April. Currently, this species is found in the Deniyaya area of Sinharaja.
According to the researchers, more than 90 Gatrodia species can be found in other parts of the world range across the Indu-Pacific, from Africa to New Zealand, and some parts of Siberia. As per the records, Sri Lanka is previously known for one species of the plant — G. zeylanica . The new orchid discovery can be distinguished from G. zeylanica by its yellow-orange color inside the perianth tube, and shorter lip and shorter stature of the whole plant, also because of it comparatively shorter flowering and fruiting season each year: between February and April.
Gastrodia gunatillekeorum Nimal and Savithri Gunatilleke, in recognition of their decades-long contribution to science. Image courtesy of Champika Bandara.￼