Plant Discoveries 2020: Western Ghats gives More New Species

Recently, the Botanical Survey of India released its new publication ‘Plant Discoveries 2020’. It has added 267 new taxa/ species to the country’s flora.

  • The 267 new discoveries include 119 angiosperms; 3 pteridophytes; 5 bryophytes, 44 lichens; 57 fungi, 21 algae and 18 microbes.
  • In 2020, 202 new plant species were discovered across the country and 65 new records were added.
  • With these new discoveries the latest estimate of plant diversity in India stands at 54,733 taxa including 21,849 angiosperms, 82 gymnosperms, 1310 Pteridophytes, 2791 bryophytes, 2961 lichens, 15,504 fungi, 8979 algae and 1257 microbes.
  • This year one new monogeneric family Hanguanaceae has been recorded for the first time from India.
  • Most discoveries have been made from seed plants, with 1,199 (37%) taxa, followed by fungi 894 (27%).

The following are some of the new discoveries this year

  • Nine new species of balsams (Impatiens)
  • One species of wild banana (Musa pradhanii) were discovered from Darjeeling
  • One species of wild jamun (Sygygium anamalaianum) from Coimbatore
  • Fern species (Selaginella odishana) were recorded from Kandhamal in Odisha
  • There are 14 new macro and 31 new micro fungi species recorded from various parts of India.

Note: The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) under the targets 2, 7 and 8 of Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) call for the status assessment of all known plant species and ex-situ or insitu conservation of 75 percent of the threatened species in every country. For this purpose, each country must have a working list of all plant species with data recorded for their distribution and occurrence. This can be achieved through systematic inventorization, exploration and documentation of the floristic wealth of the respective region.