New plant species found on São Tomé and Príncipe Islands named in tribute to Portuguese professor Jorge Paiva, from Coimbra University.

Botany | Biodiversity

By Gisela Gaio-Oliveira ( Photographs by César Garcia | 14/02/12 | Lisbon

The scientific name given to a new plant species found on São Tomé and Príncipe Islands pays tribute to the Portuguese professor Jorge Paiva, from Coimbra University.

The new species, Dendroceros paivae, belongs to a rare genus of hornworts (plants similar to mosses) and takes the second part of its name from a famous Portuguese botanist. Professor Jorge Paiva is a very well known researcher who is widely admired througout the scientific and educational community.


 The newly discovered species, growing over a leaf of a rose apple (Syzygium jambos)


The botanist César Garcia from the botanic garden of the National Museum of Natural History and Science History (Lisbon University), was responsible for discovering the new species and for the etymology of the Latin name, following the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

In Garcia's words, the honor granted to Professor Paiva was due to “his great dedication to the conservation of nature and flora of the European and African continents, particularly of São Tomé and Príncipe Islands, which he studied for over 35 years”.

The new discovery was made during a scientific expedition to São Tomé Island in 2008. The recognition of the species as new to science was only possible after a study of the specimens collected and a comparison with specimens from European herbaria.


Amélia Lagoon in São Tomé, a site visited by Portuguese and foreigner botanists since the 19th century.

The discovery of species new to science is frequently used to pay tribute to important scientific researchers. In 2006, César Garcia was also responsible for the discovery of a new moss species, Zygodon catarinoi, named after Professor Fernando Catarino, an eminent botanist from the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University.

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There are also 35 endemic species of orchids on Sao Tome and Principe. I wonder if this plant may not serve as nesting material for the endemic giant sun bird?

by Tim Upham | 01/05/12 03:07:05

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