Figure 1: Left – the male flowers of the Kadsura japonica (Photo by MORI Sayoko) Right
– the male flowers of the Kadsura matsudae (Photo by TOMA Tsugutaka). The stamen cluster in Kadsura japonica is always red, while the Kadsura matsudae is usually yellow (in rare cases it is red)

Figure 2: Stamen clusters in the male flowers
Left – Kadsura japonica (Photo by TAKAHASHI Hiroshi, Professor Emeritus at Gifu University)
Right – Kadsura matsudae (Photo by SUETSUGU Kenji). The neighboring anthers are connected in Kadsura japonica, but separate in Kadsura matsudae

After further investigation, they found that a plant with free-standing anthers had been reported in 1917 in Taiwan as K. matsudae. However, the original description of K. matsudae was brief and inaccurate, and since it did not mention the features of the stamen, it was provisionally classified as K. japonica. In this study, researchers used the specimen collected in Taiwan 100 years ago and newly-discovered specimens to carry out detailed analysis on a molecular level, including DNA barcoding. The results showed that this was a completely different plant from K. japonica.

Botanical surveys and research are advanced in Japan, and only a few new species are discovered each year. The discovery of a new woody vine species is particularly unusual.

The Ryukyu island chain stretches from Kyushu in southern Japan to Taiwan, and its subtropical and tropical ecosystems provide habitats for many species. Last year the Yanbaru forest of Okinawa was designated as part of the Yanbaru National Park, and the reclassification of Kadsura matsudae follows recent discoveries of two new orchid species in the area: Gastrodia nipponicoides and Gastrodia okinawensis. These findings further illustrate the importance of the Yanbaru forest’s diverse ecosystem.

Journal information
“Emended description and resurrection of Kadsura matsudae (Schisandraceae).”

Kenji Suetsugu, Tian-chuan Hsu, Tsugutaka Toma, Takashi Miyake, Richard M. K. Saunders

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