A species of palm, Pinanga lepidota (Arecaceae), previously believed to be found only in Borneo, has been found on the slopes of Mt. Mantalingahan, a new scientific record for the protected landscape.
The Forest Foundation of the Philippines released an official statement November 11 confirming the discovery of the new record as of an ongoing study being done in the country on palm species. According to the statement, the discovery was made by the foundation’s grantee,Forest Foundation of the Philippines
The discovery was made by Dr. Edwino Fernando, Eugene Logatoc, Pastor Malabrigo, Jr., and Jiro Adorador. According to their research paper published in the Association of Systemic Biologists of the Philippines (ASBP), the group first conducted their survey on the local flora of Mt. Mantalingahan in January 2020.
“Here we present our account of the occurrence of this species in Palawan, including a diagnostic description, and a key to the identification of similar species of Pinanga in the Philippines. We also provide brief notes on Bornean palm elements in Palawan,” the study read.
According to the study, the plant’s local name is “pisa-pisa.” The researchers described the species as a clustering palm with slender stems and yellow conical fruits, which differ from the Bornean species that bear greenish fruits.
The researchers proceeded to thank their government partners, local tour guides, and their grantors for supporting their ongoing studies on plant species of Mt. Mantalingahan.
“We thank [then] Protected Area Superintendent Mildred Suza of the Mt Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL), CENRO-Quezon, and CENRO-Brooke’s Point for their assistance; F. Escala III, B. Lumpon, R. Sendacan, and the local field guides from Ransang and Aribungos for their help and companionship,” the study stated. “Permit to collect plant specimens for scientific research study was covered by Gratuitous Permit No. 2019-25 issued by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD). We are also grateful to the late Dr. Leonardo Co for sharing his photos of herbarium specimen of Pinanga lepidota from Mt Mantalingahan in 2007.”