Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal have recently discovered a new plant species called African violet.
The discovery brings new insights into the unique evolutionary trajectory of flora in this region of India.
- Discovery was done under Tropical Ecology and Evolution Lab, a unit of IISER.
- This ‘African’ flowering plant has been recorded scientifically for the first time in India.
- The new endangered species belonging to the African Violets family was discovered in Mizoram and adjacent areas in Myanmar.
- IISER Bhopal described this new species as “Didymocarpus Vickifunkiae”.
- Currently, this species is found only in three locations near the north-eastern State’s border with Myanmar.
- It is considered an endangered species.
- The finding has been published in Systematic Botany, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Society for Plant Taxonomists.
About African violet plants:
- Commonly known as African violets, Didymocarpus is a genus belonging to the plant family Gesneriaceae whose members are distributed in Asia from Western Himalayas to Sumatra.
- African violets, native to Tanzania and Kenya have been popular in the horticultural world, often used indoors in European countries.
- They are characterized by small perennial herbs having thick, hairy, ovate leaves. Leaves are dark green and have long stems. These plants are bilaterally symmetric comprising of five petals. They can be white, violet or pink in colour.
- It is an epiphyte (plants that grow on trees) and produces light pink flowers during the monsoons.
- The species is named in honour of Late Vicki Ann Funk, a renowned botanist who worked at Smithsonian Institute, USA.
About IISER Bhopal:
- IISER Bhopal was established by Ministry of Human Resource & Development (now, Ministry of Education) in 2008.
- The Institute has been ranked 26 in Times Higher Education 2021 Rankings.