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Two new endemic tree species

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Two new species of endemic trees from Ecuador were discovered in the Andes of the country and considered under threat due to the few records and the deforestation that occurs in the areas where they have been collected, the National Biodiversity Institute (Inabio) announced in a statement.

‘Protium rugosum’ and ‘pradosia aureae’ are the names of the new species of trees described by Walter A. Palacios, a researcher associated with Inabio, in the Andean provinces of Imbabura and Pichincha and on the inter-Andean flanks of southern Loja, respectively.

The first has been recorded in two locations in the northwest of Ecuador, at elevations between 400 and 900 meters above sea level, belonging to the Chocó Andino area, an area of forests wet andean northwest of the urban center of Quito.

It is distinguished by its leaves, with one or three rough leaflets and a dense, strigulous and granular indumentum on the underside, while the fruits are characterized by being narrowly ovate-elliptical and bivalved. It flowers between May and June and bears fruit between November and December.

In Ecuador, 26 have been registered species of the genus ‘protium’, although there are at least ten other species that have not been correctly identified, Inabio warned in its statement.

Meanwhile, ‘pradosia aureae’ is the third species of the genus in the country and grows in forests semi-deciduous fields between Macará and Sozoranga, in the province of Loja, where the Bosque Protector ‘El Tundo’, on the border with Peru. There, locally, it is known as luzumbe, and the gelatinous pulp of the fruits is edible.

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It’s a tree which reaches 20 meters in height, with a wide crown and branches that project to the ground in open places.

The bark of the trees In young trees it is smooth and with vertical veins, while in adult trees it is rectangular in shape and has exfoliating plates, with a pink bark with white vertical stripes that sheds drops of white latex. EFE

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