Suscríbete al boletín semanal

Recibe cada semana los contenidos más relevantes de la actualidad científica.

If you are registered

You will not be able to connect if you exceed ten failed attempts.

If you are not yet registered

The SINC Agency offers different services depending on your profile.

Select yours:

Journalists Institutions
If you are registered

You will not be able to connect if you exceed ten failed attempts.

If you are not yet registered

The SINC Agency offers different services depending on your profile.

Select yours:

Journalists Institutions

Experts discover the mother of Roman perfumes on the Mediterranean coast

Researchers at the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville have described a new plant in the eastern Mediterranean, growing mainly near the coast. The importance of this discovery is that the plant is the maternal ancestor of a species of hybrid origin, Reseda odorata, used since Roman times due to the fragrance of its flowers, and whose essence was used in the ancient cosmetics industry.

 La nueva especie de planta con flores, Reseda minoica, de la región Mediterránea oriental. / Santiago Martín Bravo et al.
Descubren en la costa mediterránea a la madre de los perfumes romanos. Photo: Santiago Martín Bravo et al.

Investigadores de la Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla han descrito una nueva planta en el Mediterráneo oriental, que crece principalmente cerca de la costa. La importancia de este hallazgo radica en que es el ancestro materno de una especie de origen híbrido, Reseda odorata, utilizada desde la época romana por la fragancia de sus flores y cuya esencia se empleó antiguamente en la industria cosmética. En la imagen, la nueva especie de planta con flores, Reseda minoica, de la región Mediterránea oriental. / Santiago Martín Bravo et al.

Descubren dos nuevas especies de plantas en África. Photo: Santiago Martín Bravo et al.

Investigadores de la Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla han participado en el hallazgo de dos nuevas especies de plantas en África pertenecientes al género Carex de la familia de las Ciperáceas –que incluye especies como la chufa o el papiro–. Una de ellas, Carex rainbowii, –que aparece en la foto– se ha encontrado en bosques de la cordillera de los Drakensbergs, en la región de KwaZulu-Natal, en el este de Sudáfrica. La segunda, Carex modesti, solo se conoce en bordes de arroyo y turberas de una zona muy localizada de las montañas del sur de Tanzania.

La descripción de ambas especies constituye un buen ejemplo de la importante proporción de biodiversidad que aún puede quedar por descubrir, especialmente en zonas remotas del planeta, incluso en grupos de seres vivos a priori bien conocidos como son las plantas con flores.

 La nueva especie de planta con flores, Reseda minoica, de la región Mediterránea oriental. / Santiago Martín Bravo et al.
Descubren en la costa mediterránea a la madre de los perfumes romanos. Photo: Santiago Martín Bravo et al.

Investigadores de la Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla han descrito una nueva planta en el Mediterráneo oriental, que crece principalmente cerca de la costa. La importancia de este hallazgo radica en que es el ancestro materno de una especie de origen híbrido, Reseda odorata, utilizada desde la época romana por la fragancia de sus flores y cuya esencia se empleó antiguamente en la industria cosmética. En la imagen, la nueva especie de planta con flores, Reseda minoica, de la región Mediterránea oriental. / Santiago Martín Bravo et al.

Descubren dos nuevas especies de plantas en África. Photo: Santiago Martín Bravo et al.

Investigadores de la Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla han participado en el hallazgo de dos nuevas especies de plantas en África pertenecientes al género Carex de la familia de las Ciperáceas –que incluye especies como la chufa o el papiro–. Una de ellas, Carex rainbowii, –que aparece en la foto– se ha encontrado en bosques de la cordillera de los Drakensbergs, en la región de KwaZulu-Natal, en el este de Sudáfrica. La segunda, Carex modesti, solo se conoce en bordes de arroyo y turberas de una zona muy localizada de las montañas del sur de Tanzania.

La descripción de ambas especies constituye un buen ejemplo de la importante proporción de biodiversidad que aún puede quedar por descubrir, especialmente en zonas remotas del planeta, incluso en grupos de seres vivos a priori bien conocidos como son las plantas con flores.

An article published in the journal Annales Botanici Fennici describes a new species of flowering plant, Reseda minoica, from the eastern Mediterranean region, more specifically from Crete (Gavdos Island, Greek’s southernmost island), Cyprus and Southern Turkey.

“This species belongs to the genus Reseda of the Resedaceae family, related to the Cruciferae – which includes plants such as cabbage, mustard and radish – and grows on limestone substrates in scrubland near the coast,” Santiago Martín Bravo, co-author of the study and Botanical researcher at the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville (UPO), explains to SINC.

The plant is included in section Phyteuma of Reseda genus, a taxonomically complex group mostly containing narrow endemics from the western or eastern Mediterranean region, areas considered to be of critical importance in the diversification of Mediterranean flora.

“Until now this plant has been confused with related species such as R. odorata, R. orientalis and R. balansae,” the research adds. Reseda minoica can be distinguished from these other species by its lower number of stamens, seed size and petal colour.

According to Pedro Jiménez Mejías, the other co-author of the study and also a researcher at UPO, “the importance of this discovery is that Reseda minoica is the maternal ancestor of a cultivated species of hybrid origin, Reseda odorata, used since Roman times due to the fragrance of its flowers, and whose essence was used in the ancient cosmetics industry. The location of one of the parts of its origin (the mother species), provides information about the evolutionary mechanisms which produce species which are later useful to mankind.”

Moreover, the scientists believe that the plant is “at present rare”, and could require protection so that it does not become extinct. “If this were to happen, we would lose part of the Mediterranean’s plant genetic resources, with a potential consequent loss for mankind in terms of use and opportunity,” Jiménez notes.

In any case, since the species is a recent discovery, it is possible that botanists from areas where the plant grows will begin to search and discover it in other places.

Two other new species in Africa

The two researchers were also part of the recent discovery of two other new African species belonging to the genus Carex of the Cyperaceae family, which includes species such as the tiger nut and papyrus. One of these, Carex rainbowii, has been found in forests of the Drakensberg mountain range, in the KwaZulu-Natal region in eastern South Africa. The other, Carex modesti, is only known to exist at the edges of streams and peat bogs in a very localized area of the mountains of southern Tanzania.

The description of both species is a good example of the significant amount of biodiversity that may remain undiscovered, especially in remote areas of the planet, including in groups of living things well-known a priori such as plants and flowers.

References:

Martín-Bravo, S., Jiménez-Mejías, P. “Reseda minoica (Resedaceae), a New Species from the Eastern Mediterranean Region”, Annales Botanici Fennici 50 (1-2): 55-60, 2013.http://dx.doi.org/10.5735/085.050.0108

S. Martín-Bravo, M. Escudero, M. Miguez, P. Jiménez-Mejías, M. Luceño, “Molecular and morphological evidence for a new species from South Africa:

Carex rainbowii (Cyperaceae)”. South African Journal of Botany 87 85–91, 2013.

Martín-Bravo, S., Escudero, M., Jiménez-Mejías, P. “Carex modesti, a new species from southern Tanzania”. Blumea 57: 143-146, 2012.

Source: SINC
Copyright: Creative Commons

For media only:

If you are a journalist and would like to contact the researchers, please register as a journalist in SINC.

Related articles
The first cockroach to feed on lizard tears

Moths and butterflies are known to complete their diet by drinking the tears of reptiles and birds thanks to the elongated appendage that serves as their mouthpart. But it is not necessary to have such a proboscis to become a “tear drinker”.

A foot tumour and two tail fractures complicated the life of this hadrosaur

When it was discovered in the 1980s in Argentina, this hadrosaur was diagnosed with a fractured foot. However, a new analysis now shows that this ornithopod commonly known as the duck-billed dinosaur actually had a tumour some 70 million years ago, as well as two painful fractures in the vertebrae of its tail, despite which, it managed to survive for some time.