New plant species discovered in Mt. Arayat National Park

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) - A team of researchers from Angeles University Foundation Pampanga and University of Santo Tomas has discovered a new plant species in Mt. Arayat National Park, the Pyrostria arayatensis, after three years of botanical exploration.

The botanical study by the researchers on the new plant species was published in the international scientific journal of Annales Botanici Fennici in August.

One of the researchers, Dr. Marlon Suba, said that the newly-discovered species belongs to the family of Rubiaceae and is endemic to the country.

Based on the study, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Central Luzon said Pyrostria is currently represented by Pyrostria elmeri, Pyrostria obovatifolia, Pyrostria oligophlebia, Pyrostria ramosii, Pyrostria subsessilifolia and Pyrostria trifloral.

DENR-Central Luzon executive director Paquito Moreno, Jr. said in a statement the discovery of the new species indicates that the 3,715-hectare Mt. Arayat National Park has sustained its healthy biological diversity, as rare native plants continuously grow in the area.

The agency said the national park is home to 49 species of trees and plants, 86 species of birds, 14 species of mammals, and 11 species of reptiles. Of these, two species of plants are endemic, the Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) and the Chamberlain's Pitogo (Cycas chamberlaini).