Kerala

Rare plant species found in Palakkad

Named Chlorophytum palghatense, the new species is endemic to the grassland ecosystem of the Dhoni and Muthikulam forests in the Western Ghats.

Named Chlorophytum palghatense, the new species is endemic to the grassland ecosystem of the Dhoni and Muthikulam forests in the Western Ghats.  

Scientists at the Centre for Medicinal Plants Research, Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal, have reported the discovery of a rare plant species from the Dhoni hills in Palakkad district.

It was during an expedition to study the floristic diversity of the high mountains in the southern regions of the Western Ghats that the researchers led by scientist K.M. Prabhu Kumar and director Indira Balachandran came across the new species in the grasslands of the Palamala hills in the Dhoni mountain range.

The plant belonging to the genus Chlorophytum of the Asparagaceae family was later reported from the Elival hills of Muthikulam in Palakkad by a team comprising scientists from the Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi.

Named Chlorophytum palghatense, after the place of discovery, the plant is a perennial herb endemic to the grassland ecosystem of the Dhoni and Muthikulam forests at a height above 6,000 feet. It flowers and fruits from September to November. The finding has been published in ‘Phytotaxa’, an international journal on botanical taxonomy.

Distributed throughout Africa and India, the Chlorophytum genus is represented by 17 species in India, of which 15 occur in the Western Ghats.

Detailed taxonomic studies carried out at Shivaji University, Kolhapur, revealed that the new species was distinct from C.sharmae endemic to Munnar. Mr. Kumar said C.Palghatense was named thus to highlight the rich biodiversity of Palakkad district, especially as a reservoir of rare plants endemic to the Western Ghats.

A study has been taken up to assess the medicinal properties of the new species, a pressnote quoting Ms. Indira Balachandran said. C.Palghtense has been found to be similar to safed musli ( C.borivilianum), a medicinal herb also widely marketed as an aphrodisiac.

V.S. Hareesh and K.P. Vimal from the Department of Botany, Calicut University, and S.R.Yadav and Avinash Asraji Adsul from Shivaji University were part of the research team that reported the discovery of the new plant.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 10:26:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rare-plant-species-found-in-palakkad/article6750999.ece

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