A rare flower species– identified as Smooth Uncaria (Uncaria laevigata)—has been spotted in Manipur’s Bishnupur district.
The flower was identified by botanist Nidhan Singh, who teaches at IB (PG) College, Panipat.
It was photographed recently by Kh Shamungou, a well-known environmentalist in Manipur at his courtyard garden at Nambol, located 18 kms south of Imphal.
Tabish Qureshi of the popular flower website www.flowersof india.net said probably it may be the first photograph of a living plant of the species in India.
He said that he could not find any picture of the living plant of the species on the internet, except for one site.
According to the flowers of India website which currently has more than 6,000 identified flowers, Smooth Uncaria is a large climber with elliptic leaves and prominent hooked spines.
Flowers are stalkless, flat-faced, hairless outside with a narrow tube.
Flowers are seen in round balls in leaf-axis and in branch-end clusters. It is found in forests at altitudes of 600-1,300 metres from North East India to China and South Asia. It blooms during May-November, it said.
Smooth Uncaria is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diseases of the cardiovascular and central nervous systems like hypertension, light-headedness, numbness and conclusions.
There are also reports of spotting the Smooth Uncaria in Senapati district of Manipur.