100 specimens: Objects from the National Museum of Natural Science II - Botany Department

National Museum of Natural Science

Botany Department
The Botany Department of National Museum of Natural Science conducts plant biodiversity collections and related researches. It is divided into the Vascular Plants Section, Nonvascular Plants Section, Fungi and Lichens Sections and the Botanical Garden. The subjects of our collection and research cover vascular plants, bryophytes, algae, lichens and fungi.

This holotype was collected by Yung-Chan Chang and her colleagues from Mt. Lilung in the southern part of Taiwan in the winter of 2004. Chih-Hsiung Chen, Jenn-Che Wang, and Yung-Chan Chang published it as a new taxon in 2006. Up to the present, this species has only been recorded in one locality, which makes it rare and endangered.

The largest wood disc collection in the museum belongs to endemic Picea morrisonicola and it originated from the Tataka around 2600 m above sea level. It was more than 430 years old at the time of its collection. The detailed texture of the tree rings indicating the growth rhythm affected by environmental changes is a record of Taiwan’s natural history between the 16th and 20th centuries. The width and morphology of tree rings implies the variation of precipitation. It precisely recorded the environmental changes as an important evidence for the study of ancient climate.

Cimicifuga taiwanensis is a rare species and a member of the family Ranunculaceae that is on the red list of threatened plant species in Taiwan. This species presents in erect shrub-like form and is endemic to Taiwan. It was first named “Actaea taiwanensis J. Compton, Hedd. & T.Y.A. Yang” by British taxonomists Compton, Culham & Jury in 1998. They identified the species based on specimens collected by T. Y. Aleck Yang & Tseng-Chueng Huang on September 28, 1984 on Mt. Chunghueishan, Taiwan (collection number 416) . The specimen deposited in the herbarium of the National Museum of Natural Science (Herbarium abbreviation: TNM) is an “isotype” of Actaea taiwanensis. However, the scientific name was changed to Cimicifuga taiwanensis (J. Compton, Hedd. & T.Y.A. Yang) Luferov by Yang and Huang in 2008.

This is an erect herbaceous plant (family Primulaceae) that is widely distributed in eastern and southern China, Vietnam and Myanmar. However, it was not previously recorded in Taiwan. Dr. T.Y. Aleck Yang of the National Museum of Natural Science participated in a cooperative project entitled “Specimens Collected by Mr. S. Yano in Taiwan 1896-1897 and Data Collection and Digitization of Those Specimens by LE Herbarium, Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences” and visited the Herbarium of the Komarov Botanical Institute in St. Petersburg (Herbarium abbreviation: LE) in January of 2010. During his stay at LE he found a specimen collected by Yano on April 12, 1897 in Taipei (collection number 369) . Dr. Yang did not identify this specimen to species level, only to the genus Lysimachia, but he requested one duplicate to take back to Taiwan. This specimen was identified after his return to Taiwan with assistance from his colleague Dr. Chih-Hsiung Chen. The scientific name of this specimen is Lysimachia candida Lindl. It is a newly recorded species but also an extinct species in Taiwan.

This is an endemic species of the family Theaceae in Taiwan. It was first named Camellia buisanensis Sasaki 1931 by Japanese taxonomist S. Sasaki based on two specimens collected from Mt. Wuwei in Pingtung County. After that, there were no further records and it became considered an extinct species. However, at the end of 2003, camellia branches collected from a mountain ridge were sent to Dr. Seng-ZehnYang of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology and to Dr. Chang-Fu Hsieh of National Taiwan University. They both identified them as C. buisanensis in 2004. In that same year, Mong-Huai Su, Chang-Fu Hsieh and Seng-Zehn Yang transferred this species to the genus Pyrenaria, according to morphological characters, molecular research, and the results of several field studies. The formal scientific name is now Pyrenaria buisanensis. This museum had ever held a conservation exhibition on this species.

Isoetes taiwanensis is a typical aquatic fern, and also an endangered species endemic to Taiwan. The only original habitat is Dream Lake on Mt. Qixing in northern Taiwan.

Taiwanofungus camphoratus is an endemic fungal species with high medicinal value. Its fruiting body appears on the inner side of the hollow trunk of Cinnamomum kanehirai, also endemic to Taiwan. The fruiting body is perennial and has a bitter taste and orange or orange-yellow hymenial surface. It possesses various medicinal uses including as a cancer treatment.

National Museum of Natural Science
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