Thismia minutissima (Thismiaceae), a remarkable new mycoheterotrophic species from Sarawak, Borneo


Thismia minutissima, a distinctive minute species of the mycoheterotrophic genus Thismia is described and illustrated. It was found in several localities in mountain areas of Sarawak, Malaysia. The new species is superficially similar to members of Thismia sect. Rodwaya from Australia and New Zealand but differs by several distinctive morphological traits, including a fishtail-like lateral connective appendage and a perfect mitre. Its ecology, distribution and taxonomic status, as well as phylogenetic placement, are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Map 1
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 181: 1 – 20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Chantanaorrapint, S. (2018). Lectotypification of Thismia arachnites (Thismiaceae), a mysterious species newly reported for Thailand. Kew Bull. 73: 43.

  3. Chantanaorrapint, S. & Chantanaorrapint, A. (2009). Thismia clavigera (Thismiaceae), a new record for Thailand. Thai Forest Bull., Bot. 37: 27 – 31.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Chantanaorrapint, S. & Suddee, S. (2018). Thismia thaithongiana (Dioscoreaceae: Thismieae), a new species of mycoheterotroph from an unusual habitat. Phytotaxa 333: 287 – 292.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Chantanaorrapint, S., Tetsana, N. & Sridith, K. (2015). Notes on Thismia clandestina (Thismiaceae), a little known mycoheterotrophic species. Polish Bot. J. 60: 71 – 74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dančák, M., Hroneš, M., Sochor, M. & Sochorová, Z. (2018). Thismia kelabitiana (Thismiaceae), a new unique Fairy Lantern from Borneo potentially threatened by commercial logging. PLoS ONE 13: e0203443.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Dančák, M., Hroneš, M. & Sochor, M. (2020). Thismia ornata and T. coronata (Thismiaceae), two new species from Sarawak, Borneo. Willdenowia 50: 65 – 76.

  8. Doyle, J. J. & Doyle, J. L. (1987). A rapid DNA isolation procedure for small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochem. Bull. 19: 11 – 15.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Eyre-Walker, A. & Gaut, B. S. (1997). Correlated rates of synonymous site evolution across plant genomes. Molec. Biol. Evol. 14: 455 – 460.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Hareesh, V. S., Alappatt, J. P. & Sabu, M. S. (2018). Thismia aurantiaca sp. nov. (section Rodwaya, Thismiaceae): First record of the family from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India with a new species. Blumea 63: 135 – 139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Ho, G. W., Mar, S. S. & Saunders, R. M. (2009). Thismia tentaculata (Burmanniaceae tribe Thismieae) from Hong Kong: first record of the genus and tribe from continental China. J. Syst. Evol. 47: 605 – 607.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hroneš, M., Rejžek, M., Sochor, M., Svátek, M., Kvasnica, J., Egertová, Z., Pereira, J. T., Nilus, R. & Dančák, M. (2018). Two new species of Thismia subsect. Odoardoa (Thismiaceae) from Borneo. Pl. Ecol. Evol. 151: 110 – 118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. IUCN (2012). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN, Gland and Cambridge.

  14. Jonker, F. P. (1938). A monograph of the Burmanniaceae. Meded. Bot. Mus. Herb. Rijks Univ. Utrecht 51: 1 – 279.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Kumar, P., Gale, S. W., Li, J., Bouamanivong, S. & Fischer, G. A. (2017). Thismia nigricoronata, a new species of Burmanniaceae (Thismieae, Dioscoreales) from Vang Vieng, Vientiane Province, Laos, and a key to subgeneric classification. Phytotaxa 319: 225 – 240.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Kuzoff, R. K., Sweere, J. A., Soltis, D. E., Soltis, P. S. & Zimmer, E. A. (1998). The phylogenetic potential of entire 26S rDNA sequences in plants. Molec. Biol. Evol. 15: 251 – 263.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Meng, S.-W., Chen, Z.-D., Li, D.-Z. & Liang, H.-X. (2002). Phylogeny of Saururaceae based on mitochondrial matR gene sequence data. J. Pl. Res. 115: 71 – 76.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Ronquist, F., Teslenko, M., van der Mark, P., Ayres, D. L., Darling, A., Hohna, S., Larget, B., Liu, L., Suchard, M. A. & Huelsenbeck, J. P. (2012). MrBayes 3.2: efficient Bayesian phylogenetic inference and model choice across a large model space. Syst. Biol. 61: 539 – 542.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  19. Shepeleva, E. A., Schelkunov, M. I., Hroneš, M., Sochor, M., Dančák, M., Merckx, V. S. F. T., Kikuchi, I. A., Chantanaorrapint, S., Suetsugu, K., Tsukaya, H., Mar, S. S., Luu, H. T., Li, H.-Q., Logacheva, M. D. & Nuraliev, M. S. (2020). Phylogenetics of the mycoheterotrophic genus Thismia (Thismiaceae: Dioscoreales) with a focus on the Old World taxa: delineation of novel natural groups and insights into the evolution of morphological traits. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 193 (3): 287–315.

  20. Siti-Munirah, M. Y. (2018). Thismia kelantanensis (Thismiaceae), a new species from Kelantan, Peninsular Malaysia. Kew Bull. 73: 42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Sochor, M., Egertová, Z., Hroneš, M. & Dančák, M. (2018a). Rediscovery of Thismia neptunis (Thismiaceae) after 151 years. Phytotaxa 340: 71 – 78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Sochor, M., Hroneš, M. & Dančák, M. (2018b). New insights into variation, evolution and taxonomy of fairy lanterns (Thismia, Thismiaceae) with four new species from Borneo. Pl. Syst. Evol. 304: 699 – 721.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Suetsugu, K., Nakanishi, O., Kobayashi, T. & Kurosaki, N. (2018a). Thismia kobensis (Burmanniaceae), a new and presumably extinct species from Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Phytotaxa 369: 121 – 125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Suetsugu, K., Tsukaya, H., Nurainas, N. & Okada, H. (2018b). Thismia sumatrana (Thismiaceae), a new species from West Sumatra, Indonesia, with discussions on the taxonomic identity of Thismia clavigera. PhytoKeys 113: 59 – 67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Sujanapal, P., Robi, A. J., Dantas, K. J., Sumod, M. & Merckx, V. S. F. T. (2017). Thismia (Thismiaceae): the first record of the mycoheterotrophic genus to the Flora of India with a new species revealing the phytogeographical significance of Western Ghats. Blumea 62: 97 – 102.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Tanaka, N., Aung, M. M. & Latt, M. M. (2018). Thismia breviappendiculata (Thismiaceae), a new mycoheterotrophic plant from southern Myanmar. Bull. Natl. Mus. Nat. Sci., Ser. B. 44: 67 – 72.

    Google Scholar 

  27. White, T. J., Bruns, T., Lee, S. & Taylor, J. W. (1990). Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for phylogenetics. In: M. A. Innis, D. H. Gelfand, J. J. Sninsky & T. J. White (eds), PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications, pp. 315 – 322. Academic Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank John Rian Pasan and Dawat Barok for guidance in the field, Zuzana Sochorová for assistance in field and Renata Melichárková for the line drawings. MH was supported by internal funding from Palacký University IGA Prf-2020-003. MS was supported by grant no. RO0418 from the Ministry of Agriculture, Czech Republic. The research was conducted under permits nos NCCD.907.4.4(JLD.13)-337 and (298)JHS/NCCD/600-7/2/107 issued by the Sarawak Forestry Department.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Martin Dančák.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material


(DOC 64 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dančák, M., Hroneš, M. & Sochor, M. Thismia minutissima (Thismiaceae), a remarkable new mycoheterotrophic species from Sarawak, Borneo. Kew Bull 75, 29 (2020).

Download citation

Key Words

  • Burmanniaceae
  • funiculus
  • fairy lantern
  • Malesia
  • rainforest
  • seed
  • taxonomy