KUNMING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have found a new vulnerable plant species of the genus Agapetes in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The new species, namely Agapetes lihengiana, was discovered during a botanical exploration in Yingjiang County, within Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture.
It is morphologically similar to Agapetes epacridea, but has leaf blades with obvious veins, a shorter pedicel and a white corolla with five vertical pink stripes, said Tan Yunhong, a research-team member with the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"In the field survey, we only found two populations, both located on the edge of the protected area, with noticeable human-induced habitat disturbances," said Tan.
So far, the species has only been found in subtropical evergreen broadleaf forests at an altitude of 2,100 to 2,200 meters, and it is assessed as vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature guidelines, Tan added.
According to Tan, the genus Agapetes comprises about 100 species worldwide, most of which are found in Asia, with 59 species found in China.