Madhuca Diplostemon: Rediscovered in Kerala
- 15 Oct 2020
- 2 min read
Why in News
Recently, Madhuca diplostemon tree has been rediscovered after a gap of more than 180 years from a sacred grove in Kollam district, Kerala.
- The tree is locally known as Kavilippa in Malayalam.
- It has been identified by the scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) at Palode, Kerala.
- The threatened species of the Western Ghats was believed to be extinct.
- This is the second time a tree of this species has ever been located and only one mature tree has been found so far, which makes this remarkable rediscovery extremely valuable from a scientific, environmental and conservation point of view.
- In 1835, Robert Wight, a surgeon-botanist with the East India Company, found the first specimen.
- Since its original collection, specimens of the tree were never collected again, neither from its locality nor elsewhere, and botanical explorations in Eastern and Western Ghats failed to locate the species.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has included it in the endangered species list.
- However, since there is only one specimen left in a single locality, it is eligible to be categorised as 'Critically Endangered'.
- The JNTBGRI is planning to undertake the ex-situ conservation of this species through the institute’s species recovery programme.