A group of scientists and researchers have discovered two species of little-known plants, which are endemic and possibly threatened, in the lush forests of the Western Ghats in the State.
Orophea malabarica and Orophea sivarajanii, which are related to the custard apple family, were discovered in Makutta Ghat of Kodagu district by a team from the Herbarium, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, and Lead Botanical Garden, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru.
The discovery of the two species that were thriving in a small patch in the ghats was reported recently in the Journal of Threatened Taxa . Out of the 12 species of Orophea in India, five are found in the Western Ghats.
While the two plants have been found sparingly in Kerala’s Thrissur district (Orophea malabarica) and Wayanad district (Orophea sivarajanii), the discovery is the first in Karnataka and has allowed the team to carry out a detailed analysis on the distribution and status of the species.
“Based on the data collected from our field explorations and previous reports, the suggested status of Orophea sivarajanii is endangered (as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature),” says Navendu Page, a researcher part of the team led by K. Sankararao.