Chinese scientists have identified a critically endangered new species of Paris, a valuable herb in traditional Chinese medicines (TCM), in Southwest China’s Yunnan province.
The finding was published in the botanic journal Phytotaxa after researchers at Wuhan Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, confirmed the new species, which was named after renowned Chinese botanist Li Heng.
Paris, known as “Chonglou” or “flower with seven leafs” in China, includes 27 known species and most of them are valued in China as an effective cure for sores and snake bites. It is an ingredient in a number of Chinese patent medicines including Yunnan Baiyao.
Xu Zhun, the researcher at Wuhan Botanical Garden, said the new species was found in a Yunnan forest in April 2011 with distinctive differences from other known species. They confirmed it as a new species based on the examination of the fresh plants and their genomic DNA.
This new species was named Paris lihengiana to pay tribute to Li Heng, who is accredited to identifying over half of the world’s known Paris species and promoting its planting to enrich Chinese villagers in remote mountains.
“Professor Li Heng has made significant contributions to expanding our knowledge of the genus Paris, and we regard the name of this new species as a gift for her 90th birthday,” said Xu.