China / Society

Extinct herb discovered in eastern Himalayas

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-17 14:18

KUNMING - Chinese botanists have rediscovered an herb, Pedicularis humilis, thought to be extinct.

Pedicularis humilis is endemic to the Hengduan Mountains in the eastern Himalayas of southwest China. Categorized as extinct, the species was collected only once, in 1913 by George Forest of the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens, said Li Rong of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Kunming botany institute.

About 300 plants were found at three separate sites in alpine meadows at an altitude of 3,200 meters in the Gaoligong Mountains, a sub-range of the Hengduans, Li said.

The findings were published in "Oryx, The International Journal of Conservation."

Li said main threats to the species are the small population and human encroachment on its habitat.

Studies are being carried out on the herb's relationship to other Pedicularis to better understand the micro-evolution in the species.

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