Botanists at the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) in Prayagraj have made an exciting revelation with the discovery of a novel Hemiparasitic Plant species named Pedicularis Revealiana in the state of Sikkim. This unique plant not only produces its own sustenance but also demonstrates the remarkable ability to draw nutrients from the roots of neighboring trees and plants. The groundbreaking findings of this research have been published in the July edition of the International Nordic Journal of Botany (Link Below).
Arti Garg, one of the scientists from BSI, shared insights about the new species, stating, “Pedicularis revealiana has been identified in Katao, situated in the Sikkim Himalayas. It exhibits a distinctive set of characteristics that sets it apart from all other known Pedicularis species. Notably, it boasts sturdy, woody stems and adorns itself with minute flowers displaying a captivating pinkish-purple hue.” The discovery of this particular species was made during a scientific expedition in September 2019, as Arti Garg and Achutanand Shukla were en route from Lachung to Katao in the Sikkim Himalayan region.
Given the significance of this finding, researchers have now recommended further investigation into the potential medicinal properties that this plant may possess. The discovery of Pedicularis Revealiana opens up exciting new avenues for exploring the plant’s potential benefits and applications in various fields.
According to Shukla, who is currently affiliated with the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climatic Changes in New Delhi, Sikkim is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity. This state alone accounts for 45 percent of the total plant diversity in the Indian Himalayan region.
Garg explained that they chose to name the newfound species in honor of James Lauritz Reveal, an esteemed botanist from the University of Maryland known worldwide for his significant botanical contributions and work on supra-generic names.
After their visit to Sikkim in 2019, Garg and Shukla brought the newly discovered species from the pristine forests of Katao to Prayagraj. They began identifying and comparing it with other reported species.
This new plant belongs to the Pedicularis species group, characterized by its radical and opposite or whorled cauline leaves, hooded cilia, and notably longer beaks. Once it was officially recognized as a new species, its characteristics were matched with the species database from different parts of the world.
Garg highlighted that this unique flora thrives in remote forests, which remain snow-covered for most of the year. It possesses the fascinating trait of being hemi-parasitic, meaning it is partially parasitic, setting it apart from all other known Pedicularis species.
The genus Pedicularis comprises around 677 species worldwide, out of which 82 species, 13 subspecies, and nine varieties have been reported in India so far. The newly identified Pedicularis revealiana marks the 83rd species reported and is commonly known as a perennial herb.
Resource Link to Discovery of New Plant Species ‘Pedicularis Revealiana’