A lithophytic plant, also known as the resurrecting herb or sanjeevani has been spotted in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Subansiri district.
Researchers from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Itanagar regional centre, recently discovered the plant– ‘Selaginella bryopteris’.
“The species has been found near Kee River in Pistana circle of Lower Subansiri district,” Hapoli Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Abhinav Kumar said in a tweet on Saturday.
Kumar was a part of the survey team led by researchers Ashish K Soni and Vineet K Rawant from the Itanagar regional centre of the BSI.
The researchers’ team found the plant in the Pistana circle during the survey and collection of Pteridophytes (vascular plants) from the forests of Lower Subansiri district and Tale Wildlife Sanctuary earlier this year.
During the survey, Soni came across a healthy population of Selaginella and the plants were identified based on the book ‘Selaginellaceae of India’ by R D Dixit.
The plant’s body coils to form a ball-like structure during the dry season and as soon as the atmospheric humidity is restored, the plants uncoil and become green.
Further research and identification confirmed it to be the ‘Selaginella bryopteris’ which has been recorded for the first time in the fern allies of the state.
As per reports, around 23 more species of the Selaginella have been reported in Arunachal Pradesh.
However, the discovery of the ‘Selaginella bryopteris’ in the hilly state is a first.
Popularly known for its medicinal qualities, the ‘Selaginella bryopteris’ is also one of the plants that is considered as a candidate to be the sanjeevani that also finds mention in the Ramayana