The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

Tanzania lists six new plants discovered in the country by American Botanist and local researcher

Six new plants never seen before elsewhere in the world have been discovered at various remote locations in Tanzania.

It is believed that the new species may posses medicinal values, properties that once concocted into official formula the country may patent them.

The discovery was made by local and international scientists who believe the latest types of vegetation may have potent medicinal values.

“The six newly listed plants form part of the 30 strange shrubberies we recently found at various spots in the country’s landscape, the other 26 are yet to be fully studied,” revealed American Botanist Barry Yinger.

Yinger is the researcher who discovered the new plants alongside his Tanzanian associate Robert Sikawa.

The six new species of plants have already been listed in the global scientific journals.

They have also been documented at the National Herbarium which operates at the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA) in Ngaramtoni Arusha, where there is a collection of preserved plant specimens and associated data used for scientific study and identification.

The researchers have also sent the plants’ profiles, descriptions and their properties to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN).

The ICBN is the world’s authority behind the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical names that are given to plants.

Each of the listed plants bear tentatively proposed names indicating their respective locations of discovery.

One of the newly discovered plants in a greenhouse

“For instance, we have the ‘Sumbawagana,’ which is a new species in the Sansevieria family of thick leafed plants, discovered in Sumbawanga,” revealed Robert Sikawa.

The other six new species of vegetation include the ‘Muhansis,’ named after the Muha tribe and which was found in Kigoma, in Western Tanzania.

There is also Rukwana a new plant which grown on the shores of Lake Rukwa, and the ‘Virdi Flora,’ or ‘Green Plant,’ which was discovered in Mwanga District of Kilimanjaro.

The other new plant is the ‘Bangalalana,’ which was taken from the slopes of the Pare Mountains also in Kilimanjaro Region.

The sixth species of vegetation is the previously discovered ‘Embere’ (Maasai Spear) which was found in Arusha much earlier during Barry’s tour of Northern Tanzania.

As it happens, the new shrub is also shaped like a spear.

Special greenhouses have been established at the Sing’isi Ward of Meru District where the Tanzania Sansevieria Foundation keeps and grows the new discoveries.

The Foundation works in association with Potsdam University of Germany in studying the properties, composition and profiles of the new species of vegetation.

Scientists have all reasons to believe that the new plants are endemic to Tanzania as they are yet to be seen anywhere else in the world.

Their discovery somehow occurred by accident because the American tourist Barry Yinger who was visiting Tanzania in 2020 found himself marooned here following the outbreak of Covid-19.

With most airlines grounded Yinger was stranded here as there was no way he could fly back home.

So he decided to spend the lockdown period going around the country studying plants across the landscape.

Now, being an expert botanist, Barry Yinger and Robert Sikawa eventually came up with a series of discoveries in flora.

Yustina Andrew Kiwango is a renowned Tanzanian Ecologist and conservator who is currently a PhD Candidate studying Ecosystem Resilience at the University of Groningen in Netherlands had earlier on stated that the earth may sometimes yield new types of plants and vegetation cover as some form of natural self-defence mechanism, among other reasons.

Kiwango pointed out that, new plants may sprout in some areas either to protect the soil or shield other forms of vegetation being threatened by the changing environment, hostile weather conditions or invasion of human activities.

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