New plant species found in southwest China

Chinese researchers have discovered a new species of flowering plant in southwest China's Yunnan Province. 

The species, which was first discovered in April 2019, is named Stixis villiflora to refer to its hairy flowers. 

Stixis villiflora belongs to the genus Stixis, but with a difference. The leaves of Stixis villiflora are smaller than Stixis. Also, the stem, laminae and flower of the Stixis villiflora are hairy, while those of Stixis are smooth.  

The genus Stixis is endemic to Southeast Asia. It consists of nine species and one subspecies. The researchers reviewed a large number of specimens and related literature to confirm that this hairy flower is a new species of the genus Stixis. 

Only 15 plants of Stixis villiflora exist in the wild, and they are severely affected by pests and diseases. Due to its small population size and restricted distribution, the researchers have proposed that Stixis villiflora be listed as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature convention. 

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