Rudolph Valentino A. Docot, a scientist and faculty of Far Eastern University, Manila, discovered Plagiostachys lourdesiae (Zingiberaceae) in Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape, Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur last 2018.
Plagiostachys lourdesiae (Zingiberaceae) is most closely related to Plagiostachysescitorii. It is a terrestrial herb growing loose clumps. It is red in color and around 10cm in size. It is classified under the vulnerable category.
Mr. Docot was granted with a Wildlife Gratuitous Permit No. IX-01-2018 by DENR-IX for conducting a study entitled “Establishment of Far Eastern University Herbarium (FEUH): Floristic Assessment in Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape, Zamboanga del Sur” in consonance with the provisions of Republic Act 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001) after the Protected Area Management Board(PAMB) granted a “Clearance” to the research proponent.
Last 29−30 November 2018, FEU Research Team conducted their first botanical survey at Mount Timolan Protected Landscape. A total of fifty (50) collections were made which are represented by 10 families. Most of their collected specimens are from the ginger family Zingiberaceae with 16 species, two of which are potential new species. One of the highlights of their fieldwork is the rediscovery of the Philippine endemic Acranthera philippinensis Merr. from the family Rubiaceae, a species discovered in Zamboanga Peninsula on 1911 and was never recollected.
After a tedious process of botanical research, they finally confirmed that Plagiostachys lourdesiae (Zingiberaceae) is indeed a new species and endemic to the province of Zamboanga del Sur and Agusan del Sur. The specific epithet was chosen by Mr. Docot in honor of the accomplished scholarly writer and chair Emeritus of Far Eastern University, Dr. Lourdes R. Montenola. She has continued the legacy of her father and founder of FEU, Dr. Nicanor Reyes Sr., in developing quality education in the Philippines as well as dedication in preserving Philippine heritage, culture and arts.
This discovery was also published in the Nordic Journal of Botany, an international journal for the scientific study of plants and of fungi. Nevertheless, the discovery was also featured in the national news enlitled : “LOOK: New Ginger species discovered in PH”, published by ABS-CBN New on Oct. 8, 2020 @3:38 PM.
Indeed, Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape is a Key Biodiversity Area, not only in terms of flora, but fauna as well. Yet, there are still many more to discover from this protected area and ecotourism spot.
DENR enjoins researchers to rigorously pursue new discoveries of flora and fauna in the protected area because Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape may have many more new species left undiscovered. Photos courtesy of Rudolph Valentino A. Docot