Palakkad: A research team has claimed finding a new plant species in Nelliyampathy forest area, and has named it 'Oldenlantia Vasudevani.' The team comprises of M. Soumya, student at Thiruvananthapuram Environmental Resources Research Center, Maya C. Nair, head of the department of Zoology at Palakkad Victoria College, and teachers Sojan Jose and V. Suresh.
The plant comes from the 'Rubiaceae' family that includes coffee and Chrysanthus. Seen at places as high as 1,260 meters above sea level, it grows in soil with low nitrogen.
The height of the plant is a mere 100 millimeters. The plant blooms between July and September and bears fruit between August and October. Its flowers are white with shades of violet.
The team found Vasudevani from above a rock at Nelliyampathy's Karashoori area. The finding came as Soumya was conducting a research on 'Plant variety in Kollankode area.' International taxonomy journal Phytotaxa has carried an article on the finding in its April 21 issue.
However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the plant as endangered (EN). It grows in locations where tourism is allowed and hence needs extreme care without which it risks total extinction, says Dr, Maya C. Nair, who is also the research guide.
The name 'Vasudevani' was inspired by Prof. R. Vasudevan Nair, who was head of the department of Zoology at Victoria College.
The naming is also a compensation that time rewarded his memory with. Nair had found the Hygrophila plant belonging to the Oldenlandia family near Malampuzha dam in 1974. He sent its specimen to Denmark for scientific verification. However, he was allegedly cheated when the the man in charge there, Bremikamf, claimed it as his own discovery and published it. Nair was only credited with collecting a sample.