Newly Discovered Parasitic Orchid Is A Rarity Among Rarities. And None Are Protected

A number of mycoheterotrophic species have recently been discovered in Yakushima, from Oxygyne yamashitae in 2008, Gastrodia uraiensis in 2015, and this year Sciaphila yakushimensis and Lecanorchis tabugawaensis. These discoveries are evidence of the abundant ecosystems supported by Yakushima’s primeval forests. However, when most people think of Yakushima, their attention is first drawn by the Jomon cedars 500 meters above sea level, and the value of the lowland laurel forests is not widely known. The Tabugawa area where this new endangered species was discovered is not a national park or a world heritage site – it is an unprotected area where logging is permitted. Cedar logging is taking place nearby, and there are concerns that this could dry out the area, changing the mycoflora and creating an inhospitable environment. (Click on title for full story.)