Andaman & Nicobar Current Affairs

Two new species of Cycas discovered

Research conducted on Cycas pschannae, a lone tree found in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, West Bengal has revealed two new species of Cycas to the world. This discovery takes the total number of Cycas species found in India to 14.

Cycas

Cycas are one of the most ancient plants whose fossils date to the Jurassic period. They are often referred to as living fossils. They have evolved on the earth as the first seeded plants and they grow very slowly, adding only a few centimetres every year. Nearly 65% of Cycas are threatened. There are over 100 species of Cycas found across the globe.

Key Facts

Initial studies on the lone Cycas pschannae tree revealed that it was Cycas, a gymnosperm. Further research based on its anatomical and morphological characters led to the discovery of new species of Cycas pschannae and later Cycas dharmrajii in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Cycas dharmrajii is characterised by the abnormal branching habit of its giant trunk and its swollen base. It has well-defined 10 to 28 hook-like structures in the apex of the mega sporophyll which makes it distinct from other Cycas found in the country. Sporophylls are spore-bearing leaf-like female sex organ of the plant. The sporophylls of Cycas pschannae are characterised by the presence of two lateral horn-like structures.

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Musa indandamanensis, a sweet banana species with orange pulp discovered in Andamans

A sweet banana species with orange pulp named as Musa indandamanensis has been discovered in Andamans.

It was discovered by team of scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) from a remote Krishna Nalah tropical rain forest on the Little Andaman islands.

Key facts about Musa indandamanensis

  • Musa indandamanensis is thrice the size of a regular banana species and has unique green flowers and fruit bunch lux (axis).
  • It is about 11 metres high while, usual banana species is about 3 to 4 metres high.
  • Fruit lux: It is about 1 metres i.e. thrice in size compared to regular species.
  • Pulp of fruit: It has distinctive orange colour and is different from white and yellow colour of regular bananas.
  • Flowers: They are cylindrical in shape compared to conical shape of regular banana species.
  • Edible: Tribal people on the island eat it and are very sweet compared to regular bananas.
  • Conservation: The plantains of species are very limited and needs conservation.
  • Potential Use: As this species has relatively big fruit lux, the genes extracted from it can be very used for boosting banana production in the country. It can be also used for germinating new banana plants species.

Around the world, there are approximately 52 species of banana are found in wild and of them 15 such species are reported in India.

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