Agriculture World

Three Endangered Plant Species Discovered in Kerala’s Idukki District by Botanists

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

Kerala’s Calicut University Botanists have discovered three plant species in Idukki district, all the three species discovered are categorized as endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list criteria. 

IUCN’s red list is the world’s most comprehensive list of endangered biodiversity. 

Eriocaulonvamanae, Impatiens nidholapathra, and Impatiens grandispora are the three species discovered.  

Eriocaulonvamanae is a kind of pipewort, while Impatiens nidholapathra and Impatiens grandispora come from Balsam plant family. On these Impatiens nidholapathra is categorized under endangered other two species are categorized critically endangered. 

A team of botanists including scholars Divya K Venugopal, Vishnu Mohan, Professor Santhosh Nampy, and Dani Francis of Calicut University made the discovery. The team was under a research project funded by Kerala Council for Science, Technology and Environment who was studying the flora of Idukki district. 

 

Eriocaulonvamanae was discovered at Meesapulimala Hills of Idukki and covered in an area of 100 square kilometers. “Since the area is a tourist destination, the vulnerability of destruction is high. It is assigned as critically endangered,” the researcher said in the paper published in Edinburgh Journal of Botany. 

The other two species which belong to the Balsam family were also found in the hills of Western Ghats on moist rocks. Impatiens nidholapathra has violet or purple flowers and Impatiens grandispora has white flowers. 

“Impatiens nidholapathra was found in three small populations from the Mankulam and Anakulam forests with no more than 30 people living. The area of occupancy of each population is reduced to 3 meters square. Because of tourism and other anthropogenic activities, the population may become extinct. The conservation status of the species is assessed as an endangered,” says the paper. 

Due to floods and other natural calamities in Kerala plant species are facing extinction. Growing tourism also affected the biodiversity of the state due to increasing commercialization happening in important forest locations. 

 

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