When searching for the plants known as ‘calunga’ in the state of Minas Gerais, biologist Marcelo Devecchi found two locals carrying specimens near Belo Horizonte, intending to use the bitter plant for medicinal purposes. A doctoral student at the University of São Paulo at the time, Devecchi followed their directions and found several groups of flowers growing from the ground alongside a number of leafy, flowerless plants. With his experience of this plant group, he identified that the two plants belonged to a single species, not yet described and restricted to a specific area rich with iron sediment. Because of its rarity, Homalolepis planaltina has been considered threatened since its discovery.
Photos submitted by Marcelo Devecchi, obtained during his doctorate at USPRepublish