New coffee tree species from Honduras critically endangered

This is a branch of Sommera cusocoana showing flower and developing fruits
This is a branch of Sommera cusocoana showing flower and developing fruits

A new coffee tree species with cherry-like fruit that was discovered in north-western Honduras in 2013, is now critically endangered, researchers have reported.

Being about 10 metres high and covered with cream-colored flowers, the new tree species was named Sommera cusocoana, with its specific name stemming from its so far only known locality, the Cusuco National Park.

“Sadly, there has been extensive logging in the vicinity in recent years, and we fear for the future of our new species,” the researchers said.

“According to the criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it must be regarded as Critically Endangered,” they pointed out.

The findings are based on a plant diversity study in the Cusuco National Park, conducted by Daniel Kelly and Anke Dietzsch from University of Dublin in Ireland, and co-workers, as a part of a broader survey by Operation Wallacea, an international organisation dealing with biodiversity and conservation management research programmes.

The researcehrs found that the Cusuco National Park was not only of high biodiversity, but to also contain rare and hitherto unknown plant and animal species.

“We hope that the publication of this and other discoveries will help to galvanise support for the conservation of this unique and beautiful park and its denizens,” the researchers said.

The study appeared in the journal PhytoKeys.

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