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Critically endangered plant rediscovered in eastern Tibet

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(TibetanReview.net, Aug23’22) – A critically endangered plant, known as Euonymus aquifolium, has been rediscovered in Chinese ruled eastern Tibet, more than 110 years after it was first found there, according to a report by China’s official Xinhua news agency Aug 23.

The plant is stated to be listed as a critically endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

The report said a team of Chinese scientists led by Hu Jun found the plant in a canyon during China’s second scientific expedition to the Tibetan Plateau in 2021.

It was in 1908 that British botanist Ernest Henry Wilson first collected three specimens of the rare plant in Mi’nyag Gongga Riwo in Mi’nyag (Chinese: Xinduqiao) Town of Dartsedo (Kangding) County, which is now part of the PRC’s Sichuan Province.

The report said that no one had ever spotted the plant again since then, until Aug 2021, when Hu and his team found about 15 suspected plants of Euonymus aquifolium on the cliff of a canyon near Mount Gongga.

“I was very lucky. Some experts have been looking for it for more than a decade but to no avail,” Hu, an assistant researcher at Chengdu Institute of Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has said.

The findings are stated to have been published in the journal PhytoKeys, an international botanic journal.

Euonymus aquifolium is a rare and vegetatively distinctive species, and the rediscovery by Chinese researchers uncovered the only presently confirmed living individuals more than 110 years after a single gathering collected by British scientist EH Wilson in 1908, the research article published in PhytoKeys was cited as saying.

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