Two New Endemic Species Of Orchids Named As Gastrodia munasinghae and G. thilakapremae

Shakila Ifham

November 5, 2023


Scientists have named two new species of orchids as Gastrodia munasinghae and G. thilakapremae based on the distinct morphological differences and long-term field observations.

This is the first step in the taxonomic study of the tribe Gastrodieae (Orchidaceae).

Both species are endemic to the country and are assessed as Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List criteria. Furthermore, notes are provided along with a distribution map for field identification of all Gastrodia species in Sri Lanka.

These two species are named after parents of scientist Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna

Karunarathna said: “It has been my dream to name two species of orchids found during my research here for my mother and father. That is to say, the love, kindness, and nurturing and education that I received from him and her, who always gave me protection and support, and not to mention the highest honor and duty that I can give back to them is to name a discovery I made in my research.”

The genus Gastrodia ranges from Sri Lanka, north-east India, Eastern Himalayas and southern China, Japan and eastern Siberia, southward to Indo-Myanmar, Malaysia and Australia, eastward to the Pacific Islands and westward to Madagascar, the Mascarene Islands and tropical Africa.

Although it is clear from the current data that the species of Gastrodia is widespread, it may change in the future.