Two new plant species discovered in the Western Ghats of India!
Scientists working at Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala’s Centre for Medicinal Plants Research (CMPR) have discovered two new species of medicinal plants from the Western Ghats.
The research team led by K.M. Prabhukumar and Indira Balachandran discovered a new Habenaria species during their floristic explorations in the shola forests on the Elival hills of the Muthikulam forest area in Palakkad. The same team discovered a new Zingiber species from the Dhoni region of Palakkad.
Naming the ginger species as Zingiber sabuanum after renowned taxonomist Mamiyil Sabu, Dr. Prabhukumar said the plant with purple flowers with beautiful white dots and lines on it was unique to the Western Ghats. He said Zingiber sabuanum would bloom in June-July.
Alfred Joe, researcher at the Department of Botany, Calicut University, too was part of the team which discovered the ginger species.
Dr. Prabhu Kumar and team named the other plant Habenaria sahyadrica.
P.B. Sreekumar, scientist at Kerala Forest Research Institute, played a key role in the discovery of Habenaria sahyadrica. This orchid species was identified with the help of Hong Kong-based taxonomist Pankaj Kumar. “We named this orchid plant after the Sahyadris (the Western Ghats), considering the variety of flora that it contains,” said Dr. Prabhu Kumar.