CMU scientists name newly discovered flower after Blackpink’s Lisa

11 April 2023

Faculty of Science

CMU researchers from CMU Faculty of Science discovered a new, critically endangered flowering plant in Narathiwat, and named it ‘Bunga Lalisa’.

Researchers from the Department of Biology, CMU Faculty of Science, led by Assistant Professor Dr Tanawat Chaowasku, Ms Anissara Damthongdee, a doctoral student in Biodiversity and Ethnobiology, and Mr Abdulromea Baka, research from Plant Diversity in Thailand (PDiT), studied samples of Annonaceae flowering plants in Narathiwat using combined morphological and molecular phylogenetic data and discovered a new plant species, F. lalisae Damth., Baka & Chaowasku or Bunga (meaning flower) Lalisa. The species was named in honour of Lalisa Manobal, also known as Lisa, a member of Blackpink, a famous girl group under YG Entertainment. Lisa’s hard work and determination are a source of inspiration for Ms Anissara on her PhD journey.

This research, published in Willdenowia, 53 in 2023, is a part of the research project titled ‘Phylogeny and taxonomy of Annonaceae in Thailand’ funded by Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) and the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (OPS-MHESI).
Bunga Lalisa is a Liana with a very fragrant solitary flower with thick, yellow petals. The outer petals are long and narrow, while the inner petals are connivant and have the length half of the outer ones. Only two of the plants were found in secondary forests adjacent to rubber-tree plantations and one of which has been cut recently, making it critically endangered. Therefore, there is an urgent need to conserve and propagate it before it becomes extinct. ‘Bunga Lalisa can be developed into a fragrant climber and studied for chemotypes and biological activity, leading to future drug discovery,’ said Dr Tanawat.

Ms Anissara Damthongdee, a member of the research team, explained, ‘The reason why I named this new flower Bunga Lalisa and Friesodielsia lalisae Damth., Baka & Chaowasku’ after Lisa is that I have great admiration for Blackpink and Lisa in particular for her hard work and determination in the face of adversity to become a world-renowned artist that she is today. She has given me the motivation to work hard on my study and research until now when I’m close to the finish line. There are times that I feel tired and dispirited but after seeing Lisa and the other members, I can muster up the courage to carry on. Whenever I feel stressed and want to relax, I sing and dance to Blackpink’s songs or watch their music videos together with my labmates, or sometimes my teacher who at first didn’t know who they were but eventually joined the party. I would like to explain that being a Blink (Blackpink fan) or a stan is not a waste of time. If we learn to manage our time well, our admiration can turn into motivation for us as well. I’m determined to continue working in taxonomy while remaining a dedicated Blink at the same time.’