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Herbs dominate flowering plants in new Assam national park

Raimona, known earlier as Ripu Reserve Forest, was notified in June 2021 as the sixth national park of Assam. Photo: Special Arrangement

Raimona, known earlier as Ripu Reserve Forest, was notified in June 2021 as the sixth national park of Assam. Photo: Special Arrangement

Herbs dominate the flowering plants in western Assam’s Raimona National Park, one of two newly-upgraded protected areas in the State.

A team of botanists from Bodoland University and experts from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) also found 33 endangered species in the first systematic flowering plants diversity assessment in the 422 sq. km park under the Bodoland Territorial Region.

Raimona, known earlier as Ripu Reserve Forest, was notified in June 2021 as the sixth national park of Assam. Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park, two of the five notified before it, are World Heritage Sites designated by the UNESCO.

“The plant specimens were in flowering or in fruiting stage. A total of 479 taxa belonging to 347 genera and 113 families of flowering plants were recorded from the study area,” Sanjib Baruah, assistant professor of botany at the Bodoland University, told The Hindu.

Sanswrang Basumatary, the university’s research scholar, and Nazrul Islam, Sanatan Deka and Rathin Barman of the WTI conducted the study between October 2019 and August 2021.

Herbs comprise 33.61% of the recorded flowering plants followed by 25.88% of trees, 20.87% of shrubs, 11.06% of climbers, 3.75% of epiphytes, 2.71% of scandent shrubs, 1.46% of parasitic plants and 0.63% of lianas.

Lianas are plants with long, flexible, climbing stems that are rooted in the ground and usually have long dangling branches.

Invasive plants

“A total of 24 species of flowering plants were recognised as invasive. The five dominant families are Poaceae, Phyllanthaceae, Orchidaceae, Malvaceae and Rubiaceae,” Mr. Baruah said.

The study yielded a few lesser-known species such as Begonia nepalensis, Osbeckia stellata and Strobilanthes anisophylla, a plant that had not been recorded within the political boundary of Assam earlier.

Of the 33 species that were put in the RET (rare, endangered and threatened) category, 15 were found to be endangered, five vulnerable and one rare — Flacourtia jangomas. A total of 12 species were placed in the “least concern”” category.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 5:22:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/herbs-dominate-flowering-plants-in-new-assam-national-park/article65567201.ece