Scientists have discovered two new species of Ginger in Ukhrul in Manipur and Tuensang in Nagaland. These two easternmost districts both border Myanmar.
Hedychium chingmeianum, the species discovered in Tuensang district, is an epiphytic plant and grows on tall trees, while Caulokaempferia dinabandhuensis was found growing in rock crevices, boulders and humus rich soil in the Shirui Hills, where the highest peak stands at an elevation of 2,938 metres.
Both the plant species are from the family of Zingiberaceae, to which the commonly found Ginger (Zingiber officinale) belongs.
Nripemo Odyou and Dilip Kumar Roy, scientists from Botanical Survey of India (BSI) found the plant Hedychium chingmeianum, growing on tree trunks at Chingmei village in Tuensang district.
The plant, with reddish stems and creamy white flowers, was brought to the regional centre of the Botanical Survey of India, Shillong, and cultivated there.
A paper on the discovery was published earlier in Telopea, an international Journal of Plant Systematics.
“Most of the species under the genus Hedychium have medicinal properties. It is yet to be ascertained whether the newly discovered species Hedychium chingmeianum has medicinal properties or not,” Mr. Odyou told The Hindu.
He said that out 44 taxa, 31 species and 13 varieties of genus Hedychium found in India, only five are reported in south India. The remaining species are all found in the northeast.
The species Caulokaempferia dinabandhuensis was discovered by Biseshwori Thongam and Bipin Konsam of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development. The species has beautiful oval-shaped pink flowers which are found in in June-July.
It was during a trip to Ukhrul hills that Dinabandhu Sahoo, director of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development, spotted this species. The scientists named the species after Mr. Dinabandhu Sahoo.