ASSAM PRODUCES AN ORCHID LINK TO THE ORIENT
13, May 2019
Prelims level : Environment Mains level : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Why in News:
- A discovery in Assam has given India one of its smallest orchids in terms of size and duration of bloom to be recorded botanically.
- Lecanorchis taiwaniana, which the Japanese Journal of Botany has published as a “new record for the flora in India” in its latest issue, is a mycoheterotroph, one of two types of parasitic plants that have abandoned photosynthesis.
- It appeared close to the nigricans species while bearing 90% similarity with the taiwaniana species named after Taiwan.
- Lecanorchis taiwaniana adds to the orchid wealth of northeast India, which has 800 of some 1,300 species in the country.
- About 300 species are found in the Western Ghats and 200 in the northwestern Himalayas The orchid, discovered earlier in Japan, Taiwan, and Laos, was found to have a maximum height of 40 cm and a blossoming period of five-six days.
- The herbal value of this orchid that flowers and fruits from July to September is yet to be ascertained. But as it derives its energy and nutrients from fungus, it may be of herbal importance
- Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India with special reference to Assam contains information on 1,400 medicinal plants and mushrooms, including Costus pictus or the insulin plant used in treating diabetes mellitus, and Ophiorrhiza mungos used in treating cancer because of the alkaloid Camptothecin present in it.
- Also known as Indian snake root, O. mungos has been the subject of medicinal research.
- The word parasite is derived from the Greek word meaning -one that eats at another table and is estimated to be from around 5900BC.Parasites are an incredibly varied group of organisms that live within host cells. They are smaller than their host organism and reproduces faster by causing more damage to the host. They receive all sort of benefits like food and shelter from the host. Their size ranges from tiny, single-celled organisms to worms over 20- 30 m in length.