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Scientists Uncover New Coffee Tree Species in Honduras

image_3341-Sommera-cusucoana

A new species of coffee tree has been described from the Cusuco National Park, a national park in Honduras.

This new species belongs to the coffee family Rubiaceae, according to a paper published in the journal PhytoKeys.

Named Sommera cusucoana, the species is a 33 foot (10 m) high tree with cream-colored flowers and red, cherry-like fruits (at all developmental stages).

It was discovered during an ecological survey of montane rain forest vegetation in Cusuco National Park in Honduras by Dr Daniel Kelly and Dr Anke Dietzsch from Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland.

Only two individual trees were located, about the same size and within a few feet of each other.

“The site is within Cusuco National Park, in the upper slopes of the Sierra del Merendón. These upper slopes are largely covered by montane rain forest vegetation,” the scientists said.

“Although the range of Sommera cusucoana has yet to be established, this relatively conspicuous and distinctive species has not been noted elsewhere within the park, and its proposed conservation status must be Critically Endangered.”

They concluded: “we hope that the publication of this and other discoveries will help to galvanize support for the conservation of this unique and beautiful park and its denizens.”

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