Thursday, February 20, 2014

New species of oak discovered in Thailand

This is so cool!  I know, I'm always carping about botanists who head out into the woods, see an oak with slight variations from the local population of whatever oak "species" they are studying, and then proceed to name this new variant or "species" after themselves.  Or their girlfriends.  I have always thought Quercus siemsii has a nice ring to it.

But there are actual new species of oak out there for the finding.  It would be incredibly thrilling to discover one.

This one is a Lithocarpus, not a Quercus.  It is not closely related to California's tanbark oak, Notholithocarpus densiflorus despite the fact that tanbark oak used to be classified in the Lithocarpus genus.  I have a half written post on tanbark oak which this story reminds me I need to finish.  Prince - as in the singer - is involved.

This new stone oak, by the way, is Lithocarpus orbicarpus, so unless it was discovered by some dude named Orbi Carpus it was actually named for its physical characteristics and not its discoverer - a promising sign that it's truly a new species and not some botanist's ego trip.

Thanks Lucas!