Two new plant species discovered in Ghats

Researchers find them in Thiruvananthapuram, Wayanad districts

Researchers from SNM College Maliankara, the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, and the Payyanur College have reported two new plant species from the biodiversity-rich Western Ghats regions in Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad districts.

They have been christened Fimbristylis sunilii and Neanotis prabhuii, and the findings by the research teams have been detailed in the November and December issues of the plant taxonomy journal Phytotaxa.

Collected from the grasslands of Ponmudi hills, Thiruvananthapuram, Fimbristylis sunilii has been named after plant taxonomist C.N. Sunil, retired professor and research guide of Botany, SNM College.

Data deficient

A perennial plant of the Cyperaceae family, it stands 20-59 cm tall and was collected from an elevation of 1,100 metres. Fimbristylis sunilii has been provisionally assessed as data deficient (DD) under the IUCN Red List categories, according to the authors M.G. Sanilkumar., E.C. Baiju, Nitya Madanan and Divya P.V., affiliated to the Research Department of Botany, SNM College.

Fimbristylis sunilii 

Neanotis prabhuii is a prostrate perennial herb named after K.M. Prabhukumar, Senior Scientist at CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow, in recognition of his research on flowering plants of the Western Ghats and contributions to biodiversity conservation. Discovered in the Chembra Peak grasslands of Wayanad, it hails from the family Rubiaceae and grows on high-altitude grasslands.

Neanotis prabhuii grows up to 70 cm in length and is many-flowered with the petals pale pink in colour, according to authors C.N. Sunil, M.G. Sanilkumar and Nitya Madanan from the Research Department of Botany, SNM College; Anilkumar and Salim Pichan from M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation; and Ratheesh Narayanan, from the Department of Botany, Payyanur College.

Neanotis prabhuii has been categorised data deficient (DD) in the absence of any detailed observations and data on populations, the authors said.

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