Going wild over three new bananas…

GUWAHATI– Botanists the world over are expected to go bananas over the recent finds by a team of botanists.

Northeast India is one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. Now, six new plant species have been discovered by a team of the Arunachal Pradesh Regional Centre of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI). The team was led by Dr Rajiv Gogoi.

Dr Gogoi said three of these species are of the wild bananas, while one of the other three species is that of a wild balsam and the other two are of Colocasia.

The discovery of the bananas adds brings the (Musa species) banana species. The discovery of these three banana species has raised the number of banana species to 23 in India and to 73 in the world.

World over, there were 14 species of Colocasia. With the discovery of the two Colocasia species, their number has swelled to 16.

The discovery of these plant species has once again proved the ecological importance of the NE region in this age of climate change – the phenomenon that has caused much trepidation among the environmentalists.

The wild balsam (a relative of the Demdeuka) discovered by Dr Gogoi and Dr Souravjyoti Borah in the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh has been named Impatiens lohitensis R. Gogoi & S. Borah.

The second species discovered by the team is that of a wild banana, which has been named – Musa markkui R. Gogoi & S. Borah.

The third and fourth plants discovered by the BSI scientists are Colocasia species (taro in English and kachu in Assamese). These plants were discovered from Lohit and Lower Dibang Valley districts. In recognition to the helps they received from renowned aroid expert Peter C Boyce of Malaysia during the study of these plants, one species has been named as Colocasia boyceana R. Gogoi & S. Borah, the other plant is named as Colocasia dibangensis R. Gogoi & S. Borah.

Dr Gogoi found another wild banana species, which remained unknown till then, in November 2012 in West Kameng district. He studied the plant and discussed with Markku Häkkinen. The new species has been named Musa puspanjaliae R. Gogoi & M. Häkkinen. Dr Gogoi named this new species after his mother late Puspanjali Gogoi, who succumbed to cancer in 2009.

Again in December, 2012, Dr Gogoi discovered in West Kameng district another wild banana and named it Musa kamengensis R. Gogoi & M. Häkkinen.

The discovery of these six species has once again proved the vast biodiversity stock of northeast India. But rapid urbanisation, construction of major roads and other developmental activities are posing serious threats to such rare species, Dr Gogoi said.


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Posted by on November 9, 2013. Filed under Arunachal,EARTH,NORTH EAST. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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