A team of researchers from three Indian institutes discovered a new alpine plant species in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Their discovery was published in the international peer-reviewed journal “Biodiversitas: Journal of biological diversity” this Saturday.
The new species belongs to the genus Cremanthodium, commonly known as Himalayan sunflower.
Cremanthodium is an alpine genus distributed in the Sino-Himalayan region with a total of 78 recognised species. India was so far represented by 16 species and one sub-species.
It is named after the colourful country of its origin, India, as Cremanthodium indicum. The discovery was made by Dipankar Borah of Goalpara College, Dr Rajeev Kumar Singh of Botanical Survey of India, and Dr Lobsang Tashi Thungon of North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology.
First collected in 2017, the species confused the authors for a long time. Finally, helped by Dr Magnus Liden (Uppsala Botanic Gardens, Sweden) and subject experts from China, it was concluded to be a new species in 2019 and published eventually in 2021.
Flowering from July to August, the new species is endemic to Penga-Teng Tso Lake of Tawang District. Only 270 mature individuals are left in the single location, and it is assessed as critically endangered, according to the criteria B1 and B2 of the IUCN (2019) guidelines.
The Tawang district holds one of the most unique assemblages of flowering plants within the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which has led several botanists throughout the globe in recent years
More than twenty flowering plants have been newly discovered to science in the recent decade from this small district and hold more potential for numerous other discoveries. The ethical sense of conservation within the Buddhist community holds a great reason for preserving this beautiful diversity.