The Philippine flora’s rich biodiversity is again shown in the discovery of another begonia species in Palawan.
A team of researchers found two species of Begonia — Begonia Tandikan and Begonia obscuribracteata — in an unexplored area of Central Palawan. The preservation of these species and their habitats is critical. The said species are found in unprotected sites, making them a highly possible target for poaching.
According to the authors who published the discovery, begonias are one of the fastest-growing genus and the sixth-largest genus in the world of plants.
Begonia Tandikan was first discovered in the Balsahan River in Puerto Princesa. It thrives all year round because of its habitat’s high humidity and shade coming from the forest. Its name was coined after the Palawan peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis) or “tandikan,” a Philippine endemic bird with beautiful feathers that look like the foliage of Begonia.
Begonia obscuribracteata is another addition to the Palawan Begonias found in an isolated riverine area of Dumaran. This species can be easily identified due to its matted circular leaves and six ovary wings, twice the usual number seen in most Philippine Begonias.
About the researchers
The begonias were discovered with the assistance of the Palawan State University and the Philippine Taxonomic Initiative (PTI). PTI is a non-profit, independent scientific organization focused on advancing the discovery and identification of plant and animal species in the Philippines.
Yu Pin Ang, Lea Magarce-Camangeg, and William Cabanillas comprise the team working on this research.