For PhytoKeys 100, we feature 5 amazing species that made the journal famous

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Pensoft’s flagship botanical title PhytoKeys, celebrates its 100th issue and we couldn’t resist to look back on all the exciting plant species that made international media titles and touched audience hearts around the world.

With amazing 4 new species (find them in our press release) making it to the top 10 new species chart by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science’s International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), PhytoKeys surely has a lot to offer when it comes to communicating plant science to the world.

So let’s go straight to facts with our celebratory selection of 5 famous species (among many others).

The Twitter-sourced Heuchera alba

While hunting for the Pennsylvania state-endangered golden corydalis on steep 350-foot cliffs for a new episode of his YouTube video series, “Plants are Cool, Too!” in the heat of summer 2017, Bucknell University Professor Chris Martine and team stumbled across some interesting specimens of the enigmatic coral-bell genus Heuchera. Posting an image of this find on Twitter, little did  they know that one casual Tweet of a bumblebee on what he thought was Heuchera americana would not only stir a heated discussion among fellow botanists, but also lead to the unexpected-for-this-region record of the rare and globally imperiled Appalachian endemic Heuchera alba.

Read more in the original press release.

Schuette S, Folk RA, Cantley JT, Martine CT (2018) The hidden Heuchera: How science Twitter uncovered a globally imperiled species in Pennsylvania, USA. PhytoKeys 96: 87-97.

Telipogon diabolicus: orchid or demon?

A lone and unique population of about 30 reddish to dark violet-maroon orchids grows on the small patch of land between the borders of two Colombian departments. However, its extremely small habitat is far from the only striking thing about the new species. A closer look at its flowers’ heart reveals what appears to be a devil’s head. The new orchid was named Telipogon diabolicus after its demonic pattern.

Find out more about this species here.

Kolanowska M, Szlachetko DL, Trejo RM (2016) Telipogon diabolicus (Orchidaceae, Oncidiinae), a new species from southern Colombia. PhytoKeys 65: 113-124. doi:

Solanum ossicruentum: the bush tomato with bleeding fruit

A class of 150 US 7th graders has helped select a name for a newly discovered plant, which amazes with its fruits that appear to be bleeding once they are cut open. Based on this, the plant will now be known as Solanum ossicruentum, best translated to Australian as blood bone tomato, with “ossi” meaning “bone” and “cruentum” meaning “bloody”.

Luckily for Solanum ossicruentum, attention and protection are not too much of an issue. Find out why.

Martine CT, Cantley JT, Frawley ES, Butler AR, Jordon-Thaden IE (2016) New functionally dioecious bush tomato from northwestern Australia, Solanum ossicruentum, may utilize “trample burr” dispersal. PhytoKeys 63: 19-29. doi:

Sirdavidia solannona: the rare plant with a famous name

A new genus and species of flowering plant from the custard apple family, Annonaceae, has been discovered in the jungles of Gabon by French and Gabonese botanists. With its unusual flower structure characterised by red petals contrasting with its bright yellow loosely arranged stamens, the flowers of this newly discovered small tree did not quite fit any of the previously described genera. The extraordinary genus was named Sirdavidia, after Sir David Attenborough to honour his influence on the life and careers of the scientists who discovered it.

Find out more in the press release.

Couvreur TLP, Niangadouma R, Sonké B, Sauquet H (2015) Sirdavidia, an extraordinary new genus of Annonaceae from Gabon. PhytoKeys 46: 1-19. doi:

Polyceratocarpus askhambryan-iringae: a tree with a good cause

A University of York conservationist who put out a call for schools to name a new species of tropical tree from Tanzania. Following competitive fundraising totalling nearly £4000, Askham Bryan College, UK pipped the Iringa International School, Tanzania to the post. Kindly agreeing to share the name with the the African school in second place, the winning college has now baptised the new species Polyceratocarpus askhambryan-iringae.

Find out more about the tree and its cause here.

Marshall AR, Couvreur TLP, Summers AL, Deere NJ, Luke WRQ, Ndangalasi HJ, Sparrow S, Johnson DM (2016) A new species in the tree genus Polyceratocarpus (Annonaceae) from the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania. PhytoKeys 63: 63-76. doi:

Read more in the journal’s progress in our press release or in the 100th issue Editorial:

Kress WJ, Knapp S, Stoev P, Penev L (2018) PhytoKeys at 100: progress in sustainability, innovation, and speed to enhance publication in plant systematics. PhytoKeys 100: 1–9.

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