A new breed of small epiphytic orchid belonging to the genus Oberonia was recently discovered at Tengapani range of Namsai district in Arunachal Pradesh.
The discovery was made by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) scientist Dr Krishna Chowlu.
Chowlu is a native of Namsai district and is holds the unique distinction of being the first and only scientist from the State to work in the BSI.
The young scientist discovered the new orchid population during a regular floristic survey in the region recently.
Sharing her experience with the media on Monday, Dr Chowlu said, “The plant was collected in the vegetative stage. Almost all the Oberonias are difficult to differentiate in their vegetative stage. After its flowering, a critical and comparative study of the live material through available literatures, and with herbarium consultation, revealed this collection as a new species with a close affinity to the Oberonia gammiei. Molecular studies also supported the description of this taxon as a new species.”
Her findings were later published in an international journal, ‘Phytotaxa’
She also proudly informed that out of about 1350 species of orchids found across the country, about 560 species are found in Arunachal Pradesh itself.
The distribution status and taxonomy of many species of orchids are not yet to be properly ascertained. Systematic study about these species is of paramount importance, the scientist further said.
The BSI scientist from Arunachal also said some of the species are unique, rare, or endemic and such orchids are predominantly widespread and are restricted to high altitude and dense forests.
“The richness of the state of Arunachal Pradesh has still a lot more to be explored and discovered,” Dr Chowlu further said.