Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden
AN ENTREATING FIND: Flowers of the Hooglandia tree, a newly discovered plant genus from New Caledonia

When Peter Lowry and Gordon McPherson explored the rich flora of New Caledonia last May, the last thing they expected to find was a new genus. Discovering new species isn't unusual, but a new genus? "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," admits Lowry, a head curator for the Missouri Botanical Garden. Lowry is based at the Natural History Museum in Paris, while McPherson, also a curator, works out of the Garden's headquarters in St. Louis.

The new genus, Hooglandia, is named for Ru Hoogland, the world's expert on the family Cunoniaceae, to which the genus belongs. The family consists of about 30 genera and 250-350 species distributed in the southern tropics, especially Australia and the Pacific region. So far, the new genus is monotypic, consisting of only one...

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