Brunei’s new plant species showcased

Azlan Othman

The rich biodiversity of the lush rainforest in the Sultanate was showcased during the 41st Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (41st AMAF Meeting) at The Empire Hotel & Country Club in Jerudong yesterday.

Since 2015, 18 new plant species from Brunei Darussalam have been discovered. They include Alocasia azlanii, Begonia jamilahana, Melastoma ariffinii, Polyalthia watuii and Jarandrsonia yahyantha.

With its diverse ecosystem and high forest cover, Brunei Darussalam is considered one of the most significant biodiversity hotspots in the world.

Seventy-two per cent of the country’s total land area is covered by forest and 41 per cent is protected by law.

Despite Brunei’s limited land area, the Brunei National Herbarium has recorded 164 families of Dicotyledons, 30 families of Monocotyledons, four families of Gymnosperms, 37 families of Pteridophytes and 16 species of Bryophytes, including 1,178 genera and 4,696 species in the country. The country has seven distinguishable types of forest: mangrove forest, beach-type forest, freshwater swamp forest, peat swamp forest, kerangas forest, mixed dipterocarp forest (MDF) and montane forest.

Alocasia azlanii; Begonia jamilahana; Melastoma ariffinii; Polyalthia watuii and Jarandrsonia yahyantha.