Selasa, 04 Maret 2008

‘Very rare’ plant found in Kanlaon Natural Park

‘Very rare’ plant found in Kanlaon Natural Park

By Carla Gomez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:46am (Mla time) 01/25/2008

BACOLOD CITY – A “very rare” parasitic flowering plant has been found by researchers in the buffer zone of the Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park.

The Rafflesia speciosa, a member of the family of the world’s largest flower, “is the first record of this unique genus in the island (of Negros),” according to a biodiversity study of Maunsell Philippines Inc., a research firm commissioned by Philippine National Oil Co.-Energy Development Corp. (PNOC-EDC).

The Inquirer on Tuesday received a copy of the study, which was undertaken to enable the PNOC to tap geothermal energy in the park with little environmental damage.

“Rafflesia is very rare and can only be seen in the forests of Panay, Palawan, Makiling and Banahaw,” the study said.

Among the seven recorded Rafflesia species in the country, the Rafflesia speciosa has the largest flower that can reach a maximum diameter of two feet, it said. The recent find in the park’s 169-hectare buffer zone has a diameter of about 30 centimeters.
“We will mark all important species and avoid cutting them. This rule applies to the Rafflesias,” PNOC-EDC senior vice president Agnes de Jesus told the Inquirer.

The study noted that the specimen was found outside the development area in the buffer zone.

The PNOC-EDC has a geothermal power plant located in Mailum, Bago City, and plans to cover 29 hectares of the buffer zone.

The flower’s more than 20 species have been found in different parts of Southeast Asia. It was first discovered in Sumatra in 1818 and named after its European discoverer Thomas Stamford Raffles.

Unlike other flowers that are just plant parts, the Rafflesia is the plant itself, a Haribon Foundation report said. It does not have any stem, branch or leaves, and the flower’s diameter ranges from that of a cabbage head to that of a car tire, it said.

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