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Sikkim Trio Uncovers 12 New Orchids and Two Wild Jasmines

Sikkim Trio Uncovers 12 New Orchids and Two Wild Jasmines
Two wild species documented by local researchers in Sikkim

Guwahati, May 9, 2024 – In a remarkable endeavor to unveil the hidden treasures of Sikkim’s rich biodiversity, a trio of local researchers has made a groundbreaking discovery. Prakash Limboo, a Geography teacher, Pramod Rai, a botany scholar, and Madhusudhan Khanal, a PhD scholar, collaborated to document 14 species, including 12 new orchids and 2 wild Jasmines.

Sikkim, despite covering a mere 0.2% of the country’s geographical area, boasts remarkable biodiversity, earning recognition as one of the hotspots in the Eastern Himalayas.

According to the Sikkim Forest and Environment Department, the state is home to over 4500 flowering plants, 550 Orchids, 36 Rhododendrons, and a plethora of other flora and fauna. The region’s diverse ecosystem also includes over 144 mammal species, 550 bird species, and numerous butterflies, showcasing the richness of its natural heritage.

Among the newfound botanical marvels are Bulbophyllum nigrescens and Coelogyne phitamii, two orchids previously unknown in India. Additionally, the researchers identified 10 orchid species previously undocumented in Sikkim, along with two new Jasmine records.

Their groundbreaking findings have been published in reputable international scientific journals, including Acta Phytotaxa Geobotanica, Journal of Threatened Taxa, Nelumbo, and Pleione, underscoring the significance of their research on a global scale.

Despite the absence of formal funding or financial aid, the trio’s dedication and passion for preserving Sikkim’s natural heritage have driven their pursuit. They emphasize the urgent need for comprehensive studies to unearth the region’s untapped natural resources before they are lost to obscurity.

Institutions such as the Botanical Survey of India, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Sikkim University, and the State Forest Department are actively involved in ongoing research efforts to explore and conserve Sikkim’s flora.

Remarkably, the researchers’ commitment extends beyond academic pursuits, as they actively engage in safeguarding local flora at a personal level. Through practices like rescuing plants from natural habitats and reintroducing them into the wild, they strive to contribute to the preservation of the region’s delicate ecosystem.

As they continue their endeavors, the trio remains steadfast in their mission to shed light on Sikkim’s natural treasures and inspire future generations to appreciate and protect the biodiversity that thrives in this Himalayan paradise.

Also Read: Scientists Discover Pedicularis Revealiana in Sikkim

Gangtokian Web Team, 09/05/2024

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