New orchid species found in Giant Panda National Park

A new plant species, Gastrochilus wolongensis, has been discovered by Chinese scientists in the Wolong area of the Giant Panda National Park. 

The plant was first found in the wild in November 2020 by a research team from the Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and staff from the national park. Later in May 2021, Cheng Yuehong, an engineer who works in the park, successfully collected specimens during the plant's flowering and fruiting period. After detailed research, the orchid was finally determined to be a new species of Gastrochilus in Orchidaceae.

Gastrochilus is a genus of about 58 species, mainly distributed in East and Southeast Asia. Thirty-one out of the 58 species are distributed in China, of which 17 species are endemic to China.

At present, the new species is only known to be distributed in the Wolong area of the Giant Panda National Park.

(Top image from Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Bureau)

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