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Plant Discoveries 2020: BSI

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  • 25 Sep 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), in its new publication Plant Discoveries 2020 has added 267 new taxa/ species to the country’s flora.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The new Discovery to the flora of India include 119 species of seed plants, 57 species of fungi, 44 species of lichens, 21 species of algae, 18 species of microbes, five species of bryophytes and three species of fern and fern allies.
      • India has about 45,000 species of plants, already identified and classified, which account for about 7% of the total plant species of the world.
      • About 28% of the Indian plants are endemic to the country.
    • Few examples among the new discoveries are:
      • Nine new species of balsams (Impatiens) and one species of wild banana (Musa pradhanii) from Darjeeling.
      • One species each of wild jamun (Sygygium anamalaianum) from Coimbatore.
      • Fern species (Selaginella odishana) Kandhamal in Odisha.
  • Geographical Distribution of Species:
    • 22% of the discoveries were made from the Western Ghats followed by Western Himalayas (15%), Eastern Himalayas (14%) and Northeast Ranges (12%).
    • The West coast contributed 10% while the East Coast contributed (9%) in total discoveries; Eastern Ghats and South Deccan contributed 4% of each while Central Highland and North Deccan added 3% each.
  • Significance of the Discovery:
    • India is a signatory to the ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ (CBD) and is committed to work towards a global strategy of plant conservation.
      • Every year, new plant discoveries are compiled and documented by BSI, which plays a central role to fulfil India’s global commitment of comprehensive documentation and identification of plant diversity of the country.
      • CBD, a legally binding treaty to conserve biodiversity, has been in force since 1993.

Botanical Survey of India

  • About:
    • It is the apex research organization under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEFCC) for carrying out taxonomic and floristic studies on wild plant resources of the country. It was established in 1890
    • It has nine regional circles situated at different regions of the country. However the headquarter is located in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • Functions:
    • Exploration, inventorying and documentation of phytodiversity in general and protected areas, hotspots and fragile ecosystems in particular.
    • Publication of National, State and District Floras.
    • Identification of threatened and red list species and species rich areas needing conservation.
    • Ex-situ conservation of critically threatened species in botanical gardens.
    • Survey and documentation of traditional knowledge (ethno-botany) associated with plants.
    • Develop National database of Indian plants, including herbarium and live specimens, botanical paintings and illustrations, etc.

Source: TH

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