Fimbristylis jaleeliana, new species of Cyperaceae discovered in Kannur

The new species is named after the late plant taxonomist Abdul Jaleel, former Professor and research guide of botany at Sir Syed College, Taliparamba

December 22, 2023 07:33 pm | Updated 07:33 pm IST - KANNUR

Researchers have discovered a new species Cyperaceae, which is a family of graminoid (grass-like) monocotyledonous flowering plants, from the lateritic hillocks of Kannur district.

The new species Fimbristylis jaleeliana is named after the late plant taxonomist Abdul Jaleel, former Professor and research guide of botany at Sir Syed College, Taliparamba.

M.K Ratheesh Narayana, one of the key researchers from the botany department at Payyanur College, said the genus Fimbristylis vahl was one of the largest genera within the family Cyperaceae, represented by 320 species distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. In India, the genus was represented by 124 species. of which 97 were found in the Western Ghats and west coast.

He said after meticulous examination and reference to existing literature, the researchers established the novelty and distinctiveness of the species, categorising it as new to science.

Fimbristylis jaleeliana thrives in lateritic grasslands at an elevation of 60 metres above sea level. However, its existence is under threat due to habitat destruction caused by mining activities, posing a risk to its already fragmented populations on the lateritic plateau.

The others who were part of the research include C.N. Sunil, Shaju Thankappan, M.G Sanil Kumar, Manoharakumar, Prasannakumari Rijuraja, and M. Sugathan Simi. The research article was published in the journal Phytotaxa.

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