A beautiful new species of the family Iridaceae has been discovered in Langeberg in South Africa. The species name “Geissorhiza seracina” (common name: Cherry Satin flower) is inspired by the deep cherry-pink color of its petals – with seracus meaning cherry. Author: Brian du Preez

South African botanist Brian du Preez discovered a beautiful new species in the Iridaceae family high in the Langeberg Mountains in the Western Cape, South Africa.

The name of the new species, Geissorhiza seracina (common name: Cherry Satin flower), is inspired by the deep cherry-pink color of its petals – with seracus meaning cherry.

Brian says he was walking a two-day, 40km trail along the Busmansbas to Grutberg Wildlife Trail with friend and mentor Professor Peter Linder when he first found the plants in early December 2021.

“I took pictures but didn’t collect a specimen. It wasn’t until I got home and sent the pictures to Dr. John Manning, an iris expert, that we realized it was probably a new species,” he explains. . Dr John Manning works at the Compton Herbarium at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

A week later, Brian returned to the mountain, walking 34 kilometers in nine hours to collect herbarium a specimen to study and describe the morphology of the species. Some bulbs were collected for ex situ preservation at Stellenbosch University Botanic Gardens.

Together with another leading expert on the iris family, Professor Peter Goldblatt, Senior Curator of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, USA, they recently published a description of the new species in South African Journal of Botany.

Brian says it’s one of the most exciting finds of the last ten years. “New species of Iridaceae are rare, and I mostly find new species of legumes. It’s not often that new species turn out to be so beautiful.”

Brian is currently undertaking a PhD in Botany at the University of Cape Town (UCT) under the supervision of Professor Mutama Muasia (UCT) and co-supervisor Professor Leanne Dreyer at the University of Stellenbosch (SU).

With the latest discovery, the number of Geissorhiza species from South Africa now stands at 106, of which 24 have been discovered since 1985. While this genus is relatively well understood taxonomically, new species continue to be found in remote or less accessible parts of the Greater Cape Floristic Region.

So far, this beautiful species is known only from this one locality.

An assessment framework for legume conservation and management in coastal East Africa

Additional information:
P. Goldblatt et al., Geissorhiza seracina (Iridaceae: Crocoideae), a new altitudinal species from Langeberg, SW Western Cape, South Africa, with notes on G. outeniquensis, South African Journal of Botany (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.sajb.2022.09.014

Citation: New Iris Species Discovered in Langeberg Mountains, South Africa (2022, October 3) Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-species-iris-langeberg-mountains-south .html

This document is subject to copyright. Except in good faith for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.