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| Last Updated:19/11/2020

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New climber species found in Western Ghats (Source: The Hindu 06-09-2020)

 

 

 

                  JNTBGRI team terms Pothos boyceanus ‘extremely rare’ Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), Palode, have identified a new and rare species of climber of the genus Pothos (family Araceae) from the Western Ghats in Idukki district.

 

               The species has been christened Pothos boyceanus after Peter C. Boyce, an expert on Araceae of southeast Asia. The discovery by G. Rajkumar, Nazarudeen Ahammed, T. Shaju, and R. Prakashkumar (Director, JNTBGRI) has been published in Taiwania, an international journal of biodiversity.

 

Exploring its potential

 

                  “Though a climber, Pothos boyceanus belongs to the same family as Colocasia. We came across it during a floristic survey of the Western Ghats in the evergreen forests of Valara, Idukki,” Dr. Nazarudeen said. “It has potential as an indoor plant. Studies are needed to determine the other properties of this species,” he said. Pothos boyceanus is characterized by a ligule, slightly-winged petiole, asymmetric lamina, cylindric spadix and ovoid, milky-white berries.

 

                 With the identification of this climbing aroid, the number of species of the genus Pothos found in Kerala has risen to six. Pothos boyceanus belongs to the subgenus Allopothos and is closely related to Pothos crassipedunculatus reported earlier from the Agasthyamala region of Western Ghats. Pothos boyceanus is an ‘extremely rare’ species, Dr. Nazarudeen said. The JNTBGRI team has, in fact, recommended urgent conservation measures. Repeated surveys could locate fewer than 100 individuals found scattered in a 10-sq km area. This qualifies it for categorisation as Critically Endangered as per IUCN, the JNTBGRI team noted its paper, adding that the species warrants urgent conservation measures.