New discoveries

Meet these 10 plants and fungi new to science in 2022

New to science and already endangered.

RGB Kew

Paulo Camargo

Every year, thousands of new species of plants and fungi are discovered, proving again and again just how much we still don’t know about our world. And each year, Britain’s Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew highlights 10 key discoveries.

Marcos Amend

Even as they’re being discovered, some species are already endangered. Naming them won’t put a stop to that, but it shines a needed light on their precarious situation and shows us what conservationists are working to protect.

“We cannot put a stop to the biodiversity crisis unless we know exactly what it is we are saving and where.”

Dr Martin Cheek, Senior Research Leader, RBG Kew

Agusti Randi

10. Queen’s Hedgehog

Geoffrey Kibby

Originally thought to be Hydnum albidum, found mostly in North America, recent analysis shows this mushroom is a new species Hydnum reginae, found in Britain. It’s named after Queen Elizabeth II, while the common name “hedgehog” refers to the spines it has in place of gills.

Geoffrey Kibby

9. Carpotroche caceresiae

Indiana Colorado

Indiana Colorado

This tree found in Nicaragua and Honduras was named in honor of Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, an environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize. In 2016, Berta Cáceres was assassinated for opposing the Agua Zarcas hydroelectric dam in Honduras.

8. Victoria Boliviana

RGB Kew

Named after Queen Victoria, Victoria boliviana is found in the Bolivian Amazon, and is already categorized as vulnerable to extinction. The largest known species of its genus, the waterlily’s leaves can stretch more than 10 feet across.

RGB Kew

7. Garland of Nails

Preecha Karaket

Preecha Karaket

Fewer than 50 examples of the Gomphostemma phetchaburiense exist in the world, all located in a single cave. Other plants of its genus have been used to treat health issues ranging from tuberculosis to insect bites.

6. Denise’s Orchid of the Falls

Denise Molmou, National Herbarium of Guinea

Denise Molmou, National Herbarium of Guinea

Saxicolella denisea was declared extinct before it was even named, after a newly constructed dam destroyed the sole waterfall where the species lived. It was named in honor of botanist Denise Molmou, who discovered the species in 2018.

5. Sternbergia mishustinii

Ruslan Mishustin

Ruslan Mishustin

Fewer than 300 Sternbergia mishustinii plants are known to exist today. This species of tiny plants with non-opening flowers was named after its discoverer, Ruslan Mishustin, who first found its seeds in 1997.

4. Bruising ink bolete

Zohar Shafranov

Cyanoboletus mediterraneensis is known as the bruising ink bolete, due to the dark blue that emerges when it’s damaged. RGB Kew says its habitat should be protected, as the Mediterranean area where it grows is especially susceptible to disruptions from climate change.

Zohar Shafranov

3. Impatiens banen

Xander van der Burgt

Found only in Ebo Forest in Cameroon, Impatiens banen is named after the Banen people who live in the region. The Banen led protests against deforestation in Ebo Forest, helping to protect its understudied but vast biodiversity.

Xander van der Burgt

2. Ipomoea aequatoriensis

JRI Wood

The discovery of Ipomoea aequatoriensis solved a longstanding botanical mystery — the origin of the sweet potato. This flowering plant is believed to be the sweet potato’s closest ancestor, and further study could help improve the breeding of sweet potatoes for food.

JRI Wood

1. Eugenia paranapanemensis

Paulo Camargo

Farming poses a major threat to Eugenia paranapanemensis, which grows only in Brazil’s Mata Atlântica rainforest. The forest itself has dwindled to a sliver in recent years, and only three mature Eugenia paranapanemensis trees are known to scientists.

Paulo Camargo