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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New species of Indian Muraingrass discovered from Western Ghats

Besides being of economic significance as it is commonly used as fodder, this species, named Ischaemum janarthanamii, has fought harsh conditions to survive in this ecologically-sensitive region, researchers say.

By: Express News Service | Pune | December 28, 2020 3:56:48 am
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Researchers from the city-based Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), in collaboration with their counterparts from University of Goa, have discovered a species of Indian Muraingrass along the Western Ghats.

Besides being of economic significance as it is commonly used as fodder, this species, named Ischaemum janarthanamii, has fought harsh conditions to survive in this ecologically-sensitive region, researchers say.

The new species, belonging to Genus Ischaemum was identified after undertaking thorough morphological studies of samples collected from laterite surfaces in the outskirts of Goa’s Bhagwan Mahavir National Park. The species is named after M K Janarthanam, professor of Botany at Goa University. The senior professor has been honoured for his contributions in Indian grass taxonomy and documentation of Goa’s floristic diversity.

“The vegetation is exposed to extreme climatic conditions like extreme heat leading to desiccation and growing in soil with low nutritive value. Despite such adverse conditions, the species blooms every monsoon in the region,” researchers said.

The research team, led by Mandar Datar and Ritesh Kumar Choudhary of ARI, subjected the samples for a study period of over three years, before confirming the new species. This helped carry out detailed analysis of the Muraingrass’s characteristics. India is home to some 61 out of 85 species of Ischaemum known globally. Incidentally, the Western Ghats are abundant with approximately 40 species concentration of the genus.

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