The Discovery of Eight New Species of Fan Palm, Adding to the List of Flora Wealth in the Land of Papua – Plant experts have previously predicted, there will be an increase in the number of new species of around 3000-4000 species in the next 50 years, especially from Tanah Papua.

This continues to be proven through the development of research and scientific publications in recent years.

“Such as the findings of eight new species of fan palms of the Licuala clan (the palm-paleman tribe or Arecaceae-ed),” said a Head of the Dissemination and Publication Sub Division of the Regional Research and Innovation Agency (BRIDA) of West Papua, Ezrom Batorinding, S.Hut, M.Sc. in a written statement received, Sunday (24/7/2022).

With the discovery and description of the eight species, continued Ezrom, adding to the list of species richness of flora in the Land of Papua.

Today, the Licuala genus, one of 34 palm genera in New Guinea and surrounding islands, has a total of 25 species, including two subspecies.

Ezrom said the eight new species of fan palm were published in two publications in different scientific journals.

Seven new types of fan palms were published in the Journal of Phytotaxa volume 555 pages 1-16 on (19/72022).

Written by Dr. Anders Barfod from the Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark and Prof. Dr. Charlie D. Heatubun from BRIDA West Papua Province and Faculty of Forestry, University of Papua, Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia.

Plus Licuala essigii Barfod & Heatubun, Licuala multibracteata Barfod & Heatubun, Licuala sandsiana Barfod & Heatubun, and Licuala suprafolia Barfod & Heatubun.

“For one other species, namely Licuala heatubunii Barfod & W.J. Baker published in the Journal of Palms volume 66 pages 69-71 edition in June 2022,” explained Ezrom.

Furthermore, Ezrom conveyed the scientific journal, written by Dr. Anders Barfod and Dr. William J. Baker of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.

“If we read the two publications, it is conveyed that these findings are the results of extensive research in the field and in the herbarium,” added Ezrom.

Most of the new species of fan palm, said Ezrom, were discovered in Papua New Guinea, namely in the Milne Bay, Sepik River, Bewani Mountains, Brown River, and Manus Island areas.

While in Papua it was found in the Wondama area, West Papua Province, and in Ayapo Village, Sentani, Jayapura, Papua Province.

The Arecaceae family of palms is the second-ranked plant tribe in the world, which is the most beneficial to mankind after the grass tribe, especially in Papua.

Among them, sago, coconut, nibung, palm oil, rattan and nipa are always used in both modern and traditional life.

Of the 34 palm genera in New Guinea and surrounding islands, the Calamus or rattan genus has the highest number of species, 64 species.

Following the Licuala clan which now has 25 species, after the addition of eight new species.

At first glance the fan palm of the Licuala clan has a stature in the form of a shrub or shrub, with sizes from short to 2-5 meters high. Stem diameter reaches 7 cm or more.

Most grow in the lowlands to mountainous areas in tropical rain forests.

This type of palm prefers to grow under the shade or forest canopy (understorey), so it can only survive in a good forest ecosystem.

Therefore, forest destruction or forest conversion is a serious threat to this plant.

With a fan-shaped arrangement of leaves and relatively short height, this group of palms is widely traded as ornamental plants.

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