Indian research institute discovers new species of marsh plant
MUMBAI, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Indian research institute has discovered two new species of pipeworts from its western hilly range, which is one of the 35 hot-spots of biological diversity in the world, said a statement released by the Press Information Bureau late Sunday.
The pipeworts are aquatic or marsh plant with leafless stems bearing heads of inconspicuous flowers. One was reported from the western state of Maharashtra and southwestern state of Karnataka and were named Eriocaulon parvicephalum and Eriocaulon karaavalense, respectively, as per the scientists from the Agharkar Research Institute -- a state-funded autonomous body from Pune located 150 km from Mumbai.
The plant group, known as pipeworts (Eriocaulon), is known for their varied medicinal properties, though the same for the newly discovered species are yet to be explored, the statement said.
"While critically examining our collection, we came across two accessions, which showed different floral characters than earlier known species. Hence, we studied morphology and its DNA to confirm the novelty," said Ritesh Kumar Choudhary, the lead author of the study which was published in the botanical journals Phytotaxa and Annales Botanici Fennici.
The future studies will focus on elucidating the evolutionary history by investigating the phylogenetic relationship of the new species. The institute will also develop DNA barcodes to identify the species with just a portion of the leaf, the statement said.
The plant group completes their life cycle within a small period during monsoon and is having around 111 species in India. Some of these species like Eriocaulon cinereum, are well known for anti-cancerous, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties while E. quinquangulare is used against liver diseases and E. madayiparense has anti-bacterial properties, the statement said.[ Editor: SRQ ]