Newly discovered plant species named after ‘Muthuvar’ tribe in Edamalakkudy

KS Vipinachandran

Cryptocarya Muthuvariana

Kazhakkoottam: A new species of plant was discovered from tribal regions of Edamalakkudy in Idukki. The scientific name of the plant was decided as Cryptocarya Muthuvariana, recognising the contribution of tribes in protecting the forests. ‘Muthuvar’ community of tribals are residing in the region.

It is the first time that a plant was named after a tribal community in Kerala. An article has been published in the international journal ‘Annales Botanici Fennici’ in November over the discovery. The plant grows to a height of 10-15 metres and it belongs to the ‘Lauraceae’ family of the cinnamon and India bay leaf plants.

The plant was discovered by the former researcher of the Botany department in Kerala University Dr Jagadheesan, Botany professor and Centre for Biodiversity Conservation director A Gangaprasad, a scientist of Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute Sam P Mathew and researcher P Suresh Babu.

Only 10 plants of this newly discovered species were spotted in the Edamalakkudy regions. Hence, it is important to take measures to protect the plants. Director Gangaprasad said that they are trying to conserve the plant and use it in a sustainable way.

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