New species discovered in Liberian forest

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is excited to announce the discovery of a new species of plant in Liberia’s Sapo National Park.

Cercestis hepperi jongkind, as the new species is called, is a creeper that grows on the forest floor. It has dark green leaves and bright red fruit (see picture above).

The plant was spotted and described by the botanist Dr Carel Jongkind who visited Sapo in January and February this year. The Botanical Team led by Carel included FFI Technical Advisor Richard Sambolah, Liberian tree specialists, Forest Development Authority rangers and undergraduate students from two Liberian Universities.

Surveys like this are crucial for building in-country capacity in Liberia in practical skills such as botanical identification. The expedition will also contribute to Liberia’s Tree Atlas, a database which will help foresters and environmentalists to manage Liberia’s forests in a sustainable way.

As the main conservation NGO involved in Sapo National Park, FFI has played a key role in encouraging and facilitating experts from around the world to study the area’s rich and understudied biodiversity.

Read more about FFI’s work in Liberia.

The new species was formally described in the Nordic Journal of Botany. Read the paper:  “Notes on the genus Cercestis (Araceae) and a new species from Liberia: Cercestis hepperi Jongkind sp. nov.”