Kerala

New plant species spotted

The newly discovered plant Sonerila sulpheyi from the Thollayiram forest area on the Kattimattom hill ranges under the Meppadi forest range of the Western Ghats in Wayanad district.

The newly discovered plant Sonerila sulpheyi from the Thollayiram forest area on the Kattimattom hill ranges under the Meppadi forest range of the Western Ghats in Wayanad district.  

Sonerila sulpheyi is a small herb found near streams

A new species of plant belonging to the Sonerila genus of Melastomataceae family, Sonerila sulpheyi, has been discovered from the Thollayiram forest area under the Meppadi forest range of the Western Ghats in Wayanad.

The small herbaceous plant has been discovered by a team of researchers led by Salim Pitchen, conservationist, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). T.K. Hrideek, scientist, Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), and Jose Mathew, Assistant Professor, Department of Botany of Sanatana Dharma College, Alappuzha, are the other members of the team.

This genus, known as the ‘golden leaf’, is believed to be a native to the Western Ghats, Mr. Pichen said. There are more than 183 species of this plant worldwide, he said.

Inflorescence

“The inflorescence of Sonerila sulpheyi is different from other plants of this genus, as it is branched,” Dr. Hrideek said. “The plant which grows on rocks adjacent to streams during the rainy season has fleshy tubers and lovely leaves and flowers. The life cycle of the plant is four months,” he said.

The plant has been named Sonerila sulpheyi in honour of M.M. Sulphey, Professor, College of Business Administration, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, for his contributions to environment in general, Dr. Jose Mathew said.

The discovery-related scientific paper has been published in the new issue of the International Scientific Journal Phytotaxa, volume 435.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:58:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/new-plant-species-spotted/article31034459.ece

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