Known as mychoheterotrophic , there are some species of plants that have abandoned photosynthesis and that only show up above the ground when they are fruiting or in flower. Mychoheterotrophic plants live as parasites within forest ecosystems: they obtain all their nutrients from the fungi they parasitize.
Now, on the subtropical island of Ishigaki, in Okinawa (Japan), a new species of this type has been discovered: the Sciaphila sugimotoi . The finding will be published this Tuesday, July 25, in the journal Phytotaxa .
Sciaphila sugimotoi is found five to ten centimeters above the ground, with purple flowers approximately two millimeters in diameter .
The research team responsible for this discovery has been led by Associate Professor Suetsugu Kenji , from the Kobe University Graduate School of Science.
The name of the new species, ‘Sciaphila sugimotoi’, is due to the graduate of the School of Bioenvironmental Sciences of Kyushu University, Sugimoto Takaomi , who also played an important role in the identification of the species.