Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toba 'orchid paradise' yields 200 new species

Scientists say they have found almost 200 new species of orchids in the Eden Park tourist forest in Sionggang village in Toba Samosir, North Sumatra.

A group led by botanists and orchid experts Ria Telambanua and Michele Sirait has been exploring the area for years.

“We’ve successfully identified almost 200 species of forest orchids after almost four years of research. We intentionally haven’t published any of them for the sake of preservation,” Ria said on Sunday in Toba Samosir.

The discovery of new orchid species was typically followed by large-scale exploitation, she said.

The researchers identified the new species by identifying morphological differences, using orchid catalogues and by consulting with experts.

“This area is an orchid paradise. It has extraordinary natural riches. There are thousands more orchid species that have yet to be identified here,” she said as quoted by Antara.

Ria and Michele will launch a book on the new species late next month, Ria said, adding that a portion of the profits would be donated to orchid experts.

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