The new fern species Polystichum quangbinhense is found in the Quang Binh karst cave (Photo courtesy of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park)

Quang Binh (VNA) - American and Vietnamese scientists have discovered a new fern species growing inside grottos in central Quang Binh province.

The fern species belongs to the Dryopteridaceae family and is named  Polystichumquangbinhense following its geographical habitat.

This fern variety was found growing at a height of 120m, the lowest elevation of the cave species in the genus, in shady and humid conditions.

The scientists, who are part of a joint programme between Vietnamese Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, American Missouri Botanical Garden and other partners, found the fern growing in two places in the karst caves of Doi and So Dua in the park.

Despite the discovery, the scientists added the fern to the critical endangered list according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list criteria.

According to the scientists, the fern is the only southernmost cave species of the genus growing in tropical climate and its discovery is significant to the study of the genus. Another species has been found in southern China.

The park is home to 248 species of 26 families of fern flora.- VNA