- A forest officer has spotted new species orchid in Assam’s forests. The orchid is a variant of a Japanese orchid. It is India’s one of the smallest orchids in terms of size and duration of bloom to be recorded botanically.
- The orchid is known as Lecanorchis taiwaniana. It is a mycoheterotroph- a plant which gets all or part of its food from parasitism upon fungi rather than from photosynthesis.
- The orchid had been earlier discovered earlier in Japan, Taiwan, and Laos. It is found to have a maximum height of 40 cm and a blossoming period of five-six days.
- India has around 1300 species of orchids. About 800 species of orchids are found in North-east India, 300 species are found in the Western Ghats and 200 in the northwestern Himalayas.
- The forest official has also published the two-volume Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms of India with special reference to Assam. It contains information on 1,400 medicinal plants and mushrooms, including Costus pictus and Ophiorrhiza mungos.
- Costus pictus is the insulin plant used in treating diabetes mellitus. Ophiorrhiza mungos or Indian snake root is used in treating cancer because of the alkaloid Camptothecin present in it.
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