New Species of Mint Family Found in Northern Myanmar (Botany)

Premna is a genus of the mint family (Lamiaceae) of flowering plants. Over the past 20 years, two new species of the genus (P. bhamoensis and P. grandipaniculata) have been reported or described from Kachin State of northern Myanmar, one of the richest plant diversity centers in Southeast Asia. 

During a fieldwork in 2018, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) collected an unknown Premna woody climber from Putao District of Kachin State. After careful morphological studies and literature review, the researchers confirmed that the species is new to science and named it as Premna caridantha to indicate that the flower of the species superficially looks like a shrimp; especially its incurved corolla tube resembles the back of a shrimp. The new species was published in Phytotaxa

Inflorences of Premna caridantha (Image by TAN Yunhong)

Premna caridantha is a woody climber and has spike-like thyrses. It is most similar to P. grandipaniculata but clearly differs in leaf shape and corolla characters. Its leaf blade is oblong to ovate and the flowers are strongly zygomorphic. The corolla is tube incurved, slightly longer than calyx; the middle lob of the lower lip is with a bright yellowish spot; and the stamens are exerted under the upper lip. 

Premna caridantha is only known from a single locality in tropical montane forests in northern Myanmar, at an elevation of 1,000–1,500 meters. Since no clear picture of its natural distribution or population status was available, the researchers temporarily list the species as Data Deficient (DD) according to the IUCN Red List Categories.

Flowering branch of Premna caridantha (Image by TAN Yunhong)
Habit and habitat of Premna caridantha (Image by TAN Yunhong)

Premna caridantha is the fourth species having spike-like thyrses in Premna and the third new Premna species recently discovered from northern Myanmar,” said TAN Yunhong of XTBG. 

Featured image: Flowering branches of Premna caridantha  (Image by TAN Yunhong)


Premna caridantha (Lamiaceae: Permnoideae), a distinct new species from Kachin State, northern Myanmar

Provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences

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