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New plant species found in Indian hotspots.



  Jun 27, 2024

New plant species found in Indian hotspots.



FAQs

What are the two new plant species discovered in India?

Indian botanists have discovered two new plant species: Dendrophthoe longensis, an aerial stem-parasitic flowering plant from the Long Islands of the middle Andamans, and Petrocosmea arunachalense, a small herb found in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Where were these species found?

• Dendrophthoe longensis was found in the Long Islands of the middle Andamans. It was discovered on mango trees in evergreen forest edges and lowland tropical forests.
• Petrocosmea arunachalense was discovered in a cave in the Mandla region of West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, indicating its preference for low sunlight environments.

What are the characteristics of Dendrophthoe longensis?

Dendrophthoe longensis belongs to the Mistletoe family, known for its hemi-parasitic nature. This species was found on mango trees and is sparsely scattered, with occurrences recorded only in a few localities of Long Island, such as Sigmendera, Lalaji Bay, and near the forest guest house. Its conservation status is assessed as “Endangered” due to habitat destruction and other anthropogenic activities.

What are the characteristics of Petrocosmea arunachalense?

Petrocosmea arunachalense is a very small herb from the Gesneriaceae family, characterized by its completely white color with purple blotches and a hairy texture. It was found inside a cave, suggesting it requires minimal sunlight. This discovery is significant as it is only the second known species from the genus Petrocosmea in India.

Why are these discoveries significant?

These discoveries underscore the rich biodiversity of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Arunachal Pradesh, highlighting the importance of these bio-geographic hotspots. The findings contribute to the understanding of India’s diverse and often unexplored flora, emphasizing the need for conservation and further research in these regions.

What challenges do these new species face?

Both species face significant challenges due to habitat destruction and human activities:

• Dendrophthoe longensis is threatened by timber harvesting, habitat destruction, and other anthropogenic activities leading to its endangered status.
• Petrocosmea arunachalense is likely vulnerable due to its specific habitat requirements and the general threat to biodiversity in its region.

What is the significance of the biogeographic regions where these plants were found?

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Arunachal Pradesh are considered bio-geographic hotspots due to their unique ecosystems and high biodiversity. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal, are known for their tropical forests and diverse marine life. Arunachal Pradesh, situated in the Eastern Himalayas, is renowned for its rich flora and fauna, much of which remains unexplored. Discoveries in these regions highlight the ecological richness and the urgent need for conservation.

What is the importance of the cave where Petrocosmea arunachalense was discovered?

The cave in the Mandla region of West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, where Petrocosmea arunachalense was discovered, underscores the unique microhabitats that support diverse plant life. Caves provide specific environmental conditions such as lower light levels, stable temperatures, and high humidity, which can support unique and specialized plant species. The discovery of Petrocosmea arunachalense in this cave highlights the importance of exploring and conserving such microhabitats.


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