File photo of the Vaccinium exiguum from the Philippine Taxonomic Initiative [https://www.facebook.com/phtaxa]

A new species of Vaccinium has been discovered on top of Mt. Victoria, the second highest peak in Palawan, situated in Narra town.

The Philippine Taxonomic Initiative (PTI) said Thursday (July 22) in a Facebook post that Vaccinium exiguum was discovered during their fieldwork which was led by Rene Alfred Anton Bustamante in February 2021.

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File photo of the Vaccinium exiguum from the Philippine Taxonomic Initiative [ https://www.facebook.com/phtaxa]

“Named after its small statute ‘exiguum’, it’s the 36th species in the country and the third Vaccinium on the island of Palawan. Aside from its small morphology, its crenate leaf margins, floriferous branches, calyx lobes as long as or longer than the hypanthium, and deeply 5-7 ribbed (sulcations) corolla easily distinguishes it from the rest of the Philippine species. It is currently known only from a single location on the summit of Mt. Victoria,” the PTI said.

The publication of the remarkable new species, according to the PTI, was the result of a successful cooperation between researchers from the PTI, the University of the Philippines Baguio, and the Texas Botanical Research Institute.

File photo of the Vaccinium exiguum from the Philippine Taxonomic Initiative [https://www.facebook.com/phtaxa]

The research was made possible through the financial assistance of Fins and Leaves.

The PTI also said the “undertaking is an initial step by the first and the last authors towards the monographic study of this genus in the country”.⠀

“We humbly dedicate this contribution as proof of our NGO’s commitment to further the cause to elevate and legislate Mt. Victoria as a protected area,” it said.

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