Wanna have a cup of “Tomasino”.

Grecebio Alejandro, a Department of Biological Sciences professor at the College of Science (Science), named one of five newly described Philippine coffee plant varieties Mussaenda ustii in honor of the University.

Alejandro said he named the plant after UST because the color its flowers bears resemblance to the University’s official color: yellow gold.

“Mussaenda is a well-known species-rich genus of Rubiaceae that is cultivated in many botanical gardens worldwide because of their beautiful, long-blooming flowers,” he told the Varsitarian.

Alejandro’s study on the Philippine Rubiaceae genus recognized 27 Philippine mussaenda species including three varieties. Of the 27 species and three varieties, five species and one variety are newly described.

Alejandro presented his study, “Studies in Philippine Rubiaceae (Coffee plant): An Interactive Key to the Genera and Revision of the Genus Mussaenda,” at an annual seminar at the University of Bayreuth’s Department of Plant Systematics in Germany last Feb. 8.

Alejandro’s study included the development of an illustrated interactive key for all the rubiaceae genera of the Philippines that would easily identify the main components of a patch of forest under observation and obtain information on the species involved.

He added that the scarcity of generic descriptions essential to the understanding of rubiaceae in the Philippines prompted him to establish an automated databank for Philippine rubiaceae genera under the Delta system, a user-friendly database format which provides a helpful online basis for taxonomic treatment of other Asian and African mussaenda.

“The Philippines has a huge repository of diverse flora, which is nearly four per cent of the world’s vascular flora,” Alejandro said. “However, it is unfortunate that an accurately published catalogue on the Philippine Flora has yet to materialize.” J.dL. Yamzon

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