New plant found in Ratchaburi

New plant found in Ratchaburi

A Mahidol University botanist is urging people not to purchase wild plants after the discovery of a new species in Ratchaburi province.

The new plant was recently discovered by Thamarat Phutthai, assistant professor at the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies in Mahidol University, and Mark Hughes, a researcher from The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in Scotland.

Asst Prof Thamarat says the new plant species -- named Sirindhorniana by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn -- was seen growing on the bark of large trees in mountainous areas in Ratchaburi's Suan Phung district.

Many species of native plants in Thailand were previously promoted as economic ornamental plants, due to their colourful and unique leaf forms.

Due to a lack of study on wild plants, Asst Prof Thamarat suggests that people purchase other species of ornamental plants found in nurseries and avoid buying Sirindhorniana.

He says the plant species hasn't developed immunity against diseases. If bought and inappropriately grown, it would die in a short period and could also cause genetic susceptibility towards other wild plants.

Sirindhorniana will be studied and conserved in nature, Asst Prof Thamarat says, noting it can later be promoted as an ornamental plant.

Currently, however, the plant is considered as an endangered species, he says.

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