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It is quite ironic that a conservationist was killed (died, caught in a cross fire (?))  as the world is celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity.

Here, I give you a picture from what is probably Leonard Co’s last publication.


In their paper in Blumea [1], J.F. Barcelona et. al., summarize taxonomic classifications, ecology and conservation status of Rufflesia species that are known to exist in the Philippines.  There was an explosion of discovery of Rafflesia species in the islands this decade, from 2 in 2002 to around 10-11 in 2009.   This fact shifted the center of the species diversity from Borneo to the Philippines.

The map which is from the publication, shows the locations of known Rafflesia in the Philippines. Red is for the active populations, yellow for the historic populations, and white is a relatively unknown small flowered Rafflesia from Mt Matutum on Mindanao.  There is a scale below the photo to give you an idea of how big these flowers are.

© 2009 Nationaal Herbarium Nederland

Rafflesia leonardi is named after Leonard Co. The Philippines lost a great botanist.


[1] J.F. Barcelona, P.B. Pelser, D.S. Balete and L.L. Co, Taxonomy, ecology, and conservation status of Philippine Rafflesia (Rafflesiaceae), Blumea 54 (2009). doi:10.3767/000651909X474122.

J. Barcelona has a blogsite on Philippine ferns and Rafflesia. Click here.