Guwahati: A new plant that could be an alternative to jamun with higher medicinal value has been discovered in Assam.
A report on the discovery has been published in one of the world’s oldest journals, the Paris-based Adansonia, a peer-reviewed journal of plant biology devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of vascular plants biodiversity.
Noted research scholar Jatindra Sarma, while he was posted in Karbi Anglong as district forest officer, had spotted the new rheophyte species, which is restricted to the Kopili riverbed of West Karbi Anglong district of Assam. He was assisted in his research later on by his associate scholars Hussain Ahmed Barbhuyan and Santanu Dey.
Referring his paper published in Adnosia, Mr Sarma said the present species shows little affinity with jamun, or Syzygium khasianum, in having lanceolate (shaped like a lance) leaves, paniculate inflorescence (loose cluster of flowers) and calyptrate petals, but differs in various aspects, such as shrubby rheophytic plant habit, narrower leaves, non-caudate leaf apex, shorter peduncles, larger flowers etc.
During field explorations between 2016 and 2018, at Koka, Panimur, Amreng and Zirikindeng regions of West Karbi Anglong district of Assam, the senior author found this shrub growing on rock crevices at the edges of Kopili riverbed near Koka.
Observations in the field and critical examination of the voucher specimen revealed a number of morphological differences from all other hitherto known species of genus Syzygium (jamun), which warrants the description of a new species, the journal said.
The species is named after Niva Deka, the wife of first author of the paper, who encouraged her husband to continue his exploration.