The plant -- Hibiscadelphus stellatus -- grows between 10 to 20 feet tall, with smooth branches and light green leaves. Its flowers, which open midday, are red-tinged, purple and yellow, with a maroon-purple staminal column.
The new species adds to seven previously known Hibiscadelphus, or "brother of hibiscus," plants. (The second half of the new species' name, stellatus, is Latin for star-shaped.)
The trees were found growing on steep, rocky slopes between elevations of 800 and 900 meters (or up to 2,953 feet) in the
"After careful study, comparing the new trees with all those previously known, it was concluded that these represented a species new to science," a news release said.
Four of the other known "brother of hibiscus" species are extinct; two other species exist only in cultivation; and one other exists in its natural habitat, the study said.
The researchers initially found 76 trees of the new species before finding another colony of 23 plants a year later. With the 99 known plants on
"Every new species discovered is exciting, but this species, belonging to such a unique endemic island lineage, is more special," said Art Medeiros, a
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