Thismia belumensis Siti-Munirah & Suhaimi-Miloko,

Siti-Munirah, Mat Yunoh, Suhaimi-Miloko, Zainol & Ahmad, Mohammad Ismail Zubir, 2021, Thismia belumensis (Thismiaceae), a remarkable new species from The Royal Belum State Park, Gerik, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia, PhytoKeys 172, pp. 121-134: 121

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Thismia belumensis Siti-Munirah & Suhaimi-Miloko

sp. nov.

Thismia belumensis Siti-Munirah & Suhaimi-Miloko  sp. nov. Figs 1View Figure 1, 2View Figure 2, 3View Figure 3


Most similar to Thismia labiata  J.J.Sm. but differing in the floral tube partially covered by a massively expanded cucullate bilabiate annulus, longer outer tepals appendage, obovate to spathulate rather than linear to filiform inner tepals and the supraconnective apex curved outwards like a skirt rather than straight.


Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia: Perak, Gerik Distr., Royal Belum State Park, ca. 290 m alt., 22 October 2019, M.Y. Siti-Munirah FRI 94758 (holotype: KEP!, spirit collection, No. barcode 279998).


Terrestrial, achlorophyllous, brownish-whitish-green herbs up to 8 cm tall. Roots vermiform white-brownish. Stems erect (sometimes ascending), unbranched, 2-4 cm long, glabrous. Leaves scale-like, simple, translucent white, 5 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, triangular, apex acute or acuminate, base appressed. Involucral bracts 3, white, up to ca. 1 cm long, lanceolate, apex acute to acuminate, margin entire, glabrous, base appressed. Pedicel 2-4 mm long (post anthesis). Flowers terminal, zygomorphic, solitary, 5-8 cm long (including appendages); floral tube (hypanthium) 5-7 mm long, 3-6 mm wide, narrowed just above the ovary ca. 3 mm wide, widest on upper part ca. 6 mm wide, slightly shorter at one side (lower on the floral aperture side), outer surface verrucose covered with very short minute warts (papillae); basal half green, apical half with 12 dark brown and 12 pale brown (almost translucent) vertical stripes; inner surface smooth without transverse bars and other ornamentation; emerald green and translucent; outer tepals 3, pale brown each 3 × 2 mm, apex acute, each with forming a distal filiform, tentacle-like appendage, the two on the opposite side of the annulus opening erect and the one below the thickened annulus slender, ca. 1.5-2.5 cm long, ca. 1 mm wide, cylindrical, brownish-greenish and sometimes whitish towards the subulate tip; inner tepals 3, brownish to pure white, glabrous (smooth), obovate to spathulate, tightly adpressed and almost completely overlapping the cucullate part of annulus, basally with long and erect appendages, ca. 3 cm long, brownish-greenish and sometimes whitish towards clavate tip. Annulus expanded and modified into a cucullate (hood-like) structure and thickened part of the annulus, the cucullate covering the apical part of the floral tube and forming a downwards floral aperture and facing thickened part of the annulus on one side of the flower; cucullate outer surface white with 3 black lines, glabrous; cucullate inner surface white to brownish-peach, covered with numerous white translucent trichomes pointing inwards. Stamens 6, pendent from the apical part of the floral tube; each connective ca. 3.3 mm long, peach; outer surface with two linear to filiform thecae, each 1.8 mm long, facing the inner wall of the floral tube; inner surface smooth; supraconnective apex blunt and rounded, curved (like a skirt) outwards, covered with transparent trichomes on margin (apparent only in the living state); lateral appendage, apical appendages and interstaminal glands absent; filaments short, connected to floral tube and annulus. Ovary inferior, unilocular, cup-shaped, ca. 3 mm × 4.7 mm, whitish brown outer surface covered with numerous warts; placentas 3, bearing numerous ovules; style ca. 0.4 mm long; stigma triangular-pyramidal, dark greenish, ca. 1.55 mm long, papillate, unusual whitish thickened part on each surface (sometimes difficult to see), apex truncate (trilobed). Fruit cup-shaped, white or pale brown with white operculum, pedicel not elongated.


Endemic to Perak, Peninsular Malaysia. Currently known only from the type locality (Map 1View Map 1).


Lowland dipterocarp forest, under shade, 260-290 m altitude. Flowering from June to October. Thismia belumensis  was found growing within tree leaf litter and between the buttress roots of large trees (Fig. 4View Figure 4). Two other Thismia  species were also discovered within a radius of about 350 meters, T. javanica  and Thismia  sp. 1 (see Fig. 5View Figure 5), which is currently suspected by the authors to be Thismia arachnites  Ridl., but further examination is still needed. All plants were found close to the walking trail.


The species is named after The Royal Belum State Park, the type locality of this species.

Conservation status.

Critically Endangered (B1B2ab(iii)). Following the IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee (2019), this species is assessed as critically endangered as it is only known from the type locality and is certainly endemic and rare. Fewer than ten specimens were observed, including flowering and fruiting individuals. Although the locality is within the State Park forest reserve, a protected area, the area is located beside the walking trail, which is a common visiting site for tourists in the Park. The site where T. belumensis  was found is currently designated as a Tourist Zone in the Royal Belum State Park Management Plan 2018-2027. All guides can freely bring tourists to the area without special permission from the Perak State Park Corporation. Due to the small size of T. belumensis  , it may not be noticed, and so has a high chance of being stepped on. Without official reminders or guidance, the existence of T. belumensis  might be threatened by ecotourism activities. Thismia belumensis  qualifies for CR (B1B2ab(iii)) for its single location, EOO less than 100 km2, and AOO less than 10 km2. Its habitat quality is also threatened by wild boars (personal observation by Suhaimi-Miloko) and other destructive activities, such as regular visits by tourists to the area. Together, these have the potential to cause a population reduction.

Additional specimen examined.

Peninsular Malaysia. Perak: Gerik, Royal Belum State Park, ca. 260 m alt., 22 October 2019, M.Y. Siti-Munirah FRI94752 (KEP, spirit collection, No. barcode 279997).