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New Ginger species with medicinal properties discovered in Andamans

Scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered a new species of Zingiber (commonly referred as ginger) from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The new species has been named as Zingiber pseudosquarrosum and belongs to genus Zingiber. It is used for its medicinal values by the local Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of the Andamans.

Key Facts
  • The pseudo stem of Zingiber pseudosquarrosum is red in colour. Its flowers are lotus shaped and have a vermilion tinge and dehisced fruit.
  • This species has tuberous root and its inflorescence buds are urceolate in shape. The morphological features of this species make it distinct from other species belonging to the genus Zingiber.
  • Like other species of Gingers, it is edible and can be propagated vegetatively from the rhizome.
  • The new species possesses ethno-medicinal uses. The fresh extract (juice) of fleshy tuberous roots of this species is used to treat abdominal pain and anti-helminthic troubles by native tribal communities.
Note

There are 141 species of genus Zingiber distributed throughout tropical Asia, including China, Japan and tropical Australia. Of these, 20 are reported from India, which include seven ( including Zingiber pseudosquarrosum) from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Species belonging to genera Zingiber are monocotyledonous flowering plants and their hizomes are widely used as a spice or a traditional medicine. Commonly used species of Zingiber are known for its aromatic smell is cultivated widely across India.

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Tamil Nadu tops list of endemic flowering plants: BSI

According to the recent publication released by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number flowering plants in the country.

The publication titled Endemic Vascular Plants of India also revealed that almost one of every four species of flowering plants found in India are endemic to the country.

Key Facts

  • Of the total 18,259 flowering plants reported in the country, 4,303 (over 23%) are found only in India or they are endemic to the country.
  • Of these, Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number of species with 410, followed by Kerala (357 species) and Maharashtra (278 species).
  • In case of the geographical distribution of endemic plants, Western Ghats tops the list with about 2,116 species, followed by the Eastern Himalayas with 466 species. These two regions are among the biodiversity hot spots of the country.
  • At least 37 species of Black plum Syzyguim (Jamun), 274 species of orchids and 10 varieties of Musa (banana) are found only in the country.
  • Four different varieties of roses, 2 herbs and 2 climbers and 12 species of jasmines are exclusively found in India.
  • There are 45 species of black pepper family, 19 species of ginger and 13 different kinds of large cardamom endemic to India.
  • There are also 40 species of bamboos (Bambusoideae) endemic to India.
  • Some of the plants species are restricted to only certain areas of the country like an insectivorous plant Nepenthes khasiana which is only found in the Khasi hills of Meghalaya.

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More than 50 animal species critically endangered in India: Government

Union Government has announced that out of 96,000 animal species found in India more than 50 animals have been assessed as critically endangered (CR) and 310 as endangered (EN).

It was announced by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Key Facts

  • The assessment studies were conducted by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and it has recorded 96,000 species of animals from India.
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed 50 animal species as “critically endangered”. It includes 18 species of amphibians, 14 varieties of fish, 13 birds and 10 mammals.
  • IUCN also has assessed 310 animal species as endangered that includes 69 fish, 38 mammals and 32 amphibians.
  • Vascular Plants: Botanical Survey of India (BSI) also has notified that out of 19,156 species of vascular plants found in India.
  • Of them 1,236 species belong to different threatened categories like critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable.
  • Conservation of threatened species: Government has established 730 Protected Areas, including 535 wildlife sanctuaries, 103 national parks, 26 community reserves and 66 conservation reserves, which primarily cover habitats of threatened megafauna such as rhino, tiger, elephant and others.
  • 9 of the 18 biosphere reserves found in India are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.
  • Recovery programme: National CAMPA Advisory Council has approved the funding for recovery programme of various endangered species.
  • These include Gangetic River Dolphin (CR) with budgetary support of Rs 23 crore, Dugong (CR) with a budget of Rs 23.58 crore, Great Indian Bustard (CR) with Rs 108.25 crore, Manipur Brow Antlered deer (CR) with support of Rs 99.95 crore and wild Buffalo (CR) with Rs 2 crore.

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