Photo: Luis "kike" Gamez
Biologists from the Smithsonian Institution, St. Louis University and Universidad de Los Andes have discovered a stunningly beautiful new species of daisy high up in the Venezuelan Andes.
The new species given the name ‘Coespeletia palustris’ was found in the marshy areas of the alpine tundra ecosystem found in the Venezuela Andes, known as Paramos. The new species is called “palustris” because of the marshy habitat in which it grows.
The Venezuelan Andes is comprised of a series of mountain ranges in northwestern Venezuela that runs southwest and northeast by the Venezuelan-Colombian border. The area in which the new species was discovered, the Paramos, has rendered the world nearly 4,000 species of plants found nowhere else on the earth.
The new species thrives only in high altitudes and unlike the ‘common daisy’ species we see in the U.S., is larger and creates pollen.
The excitement of the discovered is tempered by the fragile nature of the flowers existence. High elevation marshes and wetlands are among the ecosystems which are most impacted by climate change. Therefore this species may be “at a certain risk of extinction,” according to Dr. Mauricio Diazgranados, lead biologist.