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| Last Updated:: 22/12/2017

Rajasthan biologist discovers rare plant after 142 years at Arunachal Park










In a rare discovery, a plant considered critically endangered and even possibly extinct in the country has been found in Arunachal Pradesh. Ceropegia Lucida, a perennial and extensive twinning herb, was rediscovered after a span of 142 years in the protected Namdapha Tiger Reserve of Arunachal Pradesh by a conservation biologist from Rajasthan. 



"While conducting a survey at Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, specimens of Ceropegia were found and photographed. After consulting the protologue and relevant literature, they have been identified as Ceropegia Lucida. The plant has been rediscovered after a gap of 142 years. The existence of the plant forms an addition to the flora of Arunachal Pradesh," said Dharmendra Khandal, conservation biologist, Tiger Watch, an NGO. 



The discovery has been published in the 'Current Science' journal. The last time this species was reported was from Sikkim in 1874. The specimen (King 2430) is available at the central national herbarium of the Botanical Survey of India in Kolkata, West Bengal, he said.



According to the scientific paper in Current Science, the genus, Ceropegia L, is represented by 244 taxa (groups of a species) worldwide. It was distributed in the 'old world' in places ranging from southeast Asia, India, Madagascar, tropical Arabia, Canary Islands and Africa, except the Mediterranean region, New Guinea and northern Australia. 




Majority of Ceropegia species are rare 



There are 59 taxa (groups) of Ceropegia in India. Majority of the Ceropegia species are rare and Lucida is a perennial, extensive twinning herb. The stem is smooth and has sparse hairs. Other than Arunachal Pradesh, it has been reported from Meghalaya, Sikkim, Assam, Bangladesh, Burma, Malaysia and Thailand. The specific epithet, Lucida, has been given due to the bright green coloured leaves of the species. 



Endorsing the finding, Dr S S Hamid, senior scientist, who works on the conservation of rare and endangered species at the Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata, said, "We are living in an age of vanishing forests and the wild. From the conservation point of view, the rediscovery after 142 years is great news. It also brings hope as the species, which we so far thought was extinct, is still alive." 








Source: The Times of India