It has been said by “the person on the street” that humans have already discovered all the species on Earth (1.8 million to date). This is far from true. Each year hundreds of new organisms are discovered. Selby scientists are conducting the basic research of alpha-taxonomy as part of the Gardens mission: To further the understanding and appreciation of plant life, with emphasis on epiphytes, and to provide enjoyment for all who visit the Gardens. The current issue of Selbyana includes 13 new species of bromeliads, gesneriads, and orchids that have been described by Selby scientists, research associates and other botanists.
The etymology or origin of species names are categorized in four ways: descriptive, if the species is named for some intrinsic character; personal, if the species is named for a person or organization; habitat, if the species is named for its unique habitat; and region, if the species is named for its geographic region.
These are the new species names with their etymology and country of origin:
Tillandsia rangelensis is named for the geographic region, Rangel, San Cristóbal, Province Pinar del Río, Cuba.
Fosterella batistana is from Brazil and is named for the Amazonian orchid specialist João Batista Fernandes da Silva.
Fosterella christophii is from Bolivia and is named for Christoph Nowicki, who was the co-collector of the plant.
Fosterella elviragrossiae is from Bolivia and is named for the late bromeliad taxonomist Elvira Gross.
Fosterella kroemeri is from Bolivia and is named for the collector of the plant, Thorsten Krömer, a bromeliad specialist and epiphyte ecologist.
Fosterella robertreadii comes from Peru and is dedicated to the late Robert Read, a bromeliad taxonomist.
Amalophyllon clarkia comes from Ecuador and is named for the collector John L. Clark.
Amallophyllon macrophylloides is from Honduras and the name refers to the resemblance of this plant to another species A. macrophyllum.
Niphaea pumila is from Mexico and the name pumila means dwarf or pygmy.
Drymonia decora is found in Costa Rica. The name decora is Latin for “graceful” and is to honor both Ann Patton and Ann Esworthy. The English name “Ann” is derived from the Hebrew “channah” meaning “grace.”
Drymonia collegarum is from Ecuador. The specific epithet is Latin for “colleague” and is in reference to the authors of this new species, John L. Clark and John R. Clark.
Ada pygmaea is found in Ecuador. The Latin name pygmaeus, “pygmy, dwarf,” is in reference to the diminutive size of the plant and the flowers.
Bulbophyllum paluense comes from Indonesia and is named for Palu, a city on the Indonesian island of Sulawes.
More information about these interesting plants can be found in the Gardens’ scientific journal Selbyana.