GUWAHATI: Spathoglottis, S. arunachalensis (Orchidaceae), a new species of orchid has been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh.
Details of the discovery have been reported in international journal of plant taxonomy, Phytotaxa, coauthored by Dr Jambey Tsering of the Orchid Research Centre (ORC), Tipi, and Dr Kothareddy Prasad of the Botanical Survey of India, Hyderabad.
“The species is now confirmed as new and named after the state Arunachal Pradesh, where this novelty occurs,” they said.
"A new species of Spathoglottis, S. arunachalensis (Orchidaceae), from Sessa Orchid Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is described and illustrated. Morphologically, the new species is allied to S. ixioides but differs in many attributes which are discussed here. An updated key for Indian Spathoglottis is also provided for easy identification," an initial note read.
Tsering also said that several explorations in the adjacent habitats were made but this variety of orchids could not be located.
ORC has also announced a cash reward of Rs 10,000 for those who can spot the species.
“Spathoglottis are terrestrial orchids which bloom nearly throughout the year. However, its Over-collection has drastically decreased its population in the wild. It is one of the most threatened orchid groups with just 50 species known to the world. Only four species are found in India, including the present one,” Tsering said to The Telegraph. He also said that the current habitat is now being eroded due to the construction of the trans-Arunachal highway.
In January this year, much to the delight of orchid lovers, a rare ground orchid species was found in the Poba reserved forest (RF) in Arunachal Pradesh during a survey conducted by a team of orchid specialists recently.
The team, which included botanists and students from Assam, also recorded more than 10 epiphytic orchid species, including Dendrobium Aphyllum, Dendrobium Lituiflorum and Luria Trichoriza, in the reserved forest, informed Khyonjeet Gogoi, an orchid expert from Assam’s Tinsukia district who, is also the founder of the Orchid Society of Eastern Himalaya.
Gogoi informed that he could not trace the orchid species (Corimbolcis viridiflora) in the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh – except in West Kameng and Dibang Valley districts – during surveys he had conducted earlier.
The orchid species is found in Assam, and only in Karbi Anglong, Gogoi, who has been conducting surveys on indigenous orchids in the jungles of Assam and Arunachal since 1994, said.