New Species of Fern Found in Papua

Arfi Bambani
Deparia stellata Wardani species of Papua
Deparia stellata Wardani species of Papua - Researchers from National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) identified a new type of fern, Deparia stellata, which grows in the forest interior of Bintang Mountains, Papua New Guinea.

BRIN Biological Research Center researcher Wita Wardani in a written statement received by ANTARA in Jakarta, Thursday, January 6, 2022, said the discovery of the new species adds information to the variation and inventory of ferns (pteridophytes), especially in the phytogeographic area of Malesia.

"The key to this discovery was the willingness of the Natural History Museum of London (BM) herbarium to lend its specimens. I found this specimen when I visited the herbarium to examine a pile of specimens that had not been identified in 2016," said Wita.

Wita and his team were able to identify this new type of pteridophyte plant based on the specimens collected by WR Barker in the 1975's Bintang Mountains Expedition. The expedition was a collaborative botanical exploration journey between the Dutch Rijksherbarium and the Papua New Guinea national herbarium.

Wita, who is a botanist, said that at glance, the surface cover of the stalks and leaf rachis of the new type looks different. Through an observation with a high-magnification microscope at the Bogor Herbarium, Wita finally confirmed the novelty of the specimen which was published in the journal Reinwardtia on December 6, 2021.

After observation with a microscope, the new species characteristics were observed, both variations in shape, size, and position to other characteristics. "Previously, reddish-dark stellate hairs covering the rachis and costa (leaf bones) were never found in the Deparia species. Likewise, scales with irregular hair edges. This feature is unusual for this genus," said Wita.

However, similar star hairs were also observed in Diplazium stellatopillosum, a species from a different genus but still from the same tribe that was also found in Papua New Guinea. The difference between Deparia and Diplazium can be seen from the discontinuous ribbed trench in Deparia, but the opposite in Diplazium.

"The stellar hair character is thought to be a characteristic feature of mainland Papua, especially in the eastern part, but a more thorough study needs to be done to confirm it," said Wita.

Tag # fern # biodiversity # papua # research # science # brin

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