Pittosporum peridoticola (Pittosporaceae), a new ultramafic obligate species restricted to Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia)

John B. Sugau, Antony Van Der Ent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Kinabalu Park, in Sabah (Malaysia) on Borneo Island, is renowned for the exceptionally high plant diversity it protects, with at least 5000 plant species enumerated to date. Discoveries of plant novelties continue to be made in Sabah, especially on isolated ultramafic outcrops, including in the genus Pittosporum (Pittosporaceae) with P. linearifolium from Bukit Hampuan on the southern border of the Park, and P. silamense from Bukit Silam in Eastern Sabah, both narrow endemics restricted to ultramafic soils. Results: A distinctive new species of Pittosporum (P. peridoticola J.B.Sugau and Ent, sp. nov.) was discovered on Mount Tambuyukon in the north of Kinabalu Park during ecological fieldwork. The diagnostic morphological characters of this taxon are discussed and information about the habitat in which it grows is provided. The soil chemistry in the rooting zone of P. peridoticola has high magnesium to calcium quotients, high extractable nickel and manganese concentrations, but low potassium and phosphorus concentrations, as is typical for ultramafic soils. Analysis of foliar samples of various Pittosporum-species originating from ultramafic and non-ultramafic soils showed a comparable foliar elemental stoichiometry that is suggestive of ‘Excluder-type’ ecophysiology. Conclusion: Pittosporum peridoticola is an ultramafic obligate species restricted to Kinabalu Park with only two known populations within the boundaries of the protected area. It is vulnerable to any future stochastic landscape disturbance events, such as forest fires or severe droughts, and therefore its conservation status is ‘Near Threatened’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalBotanical Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyper-endemic
  • Mount tambuyukon
  • Soil chemistry
  • Ultramafic obligate


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