Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Botanical Survey of India
- Scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered two new species of Zingiber, commonly referred to as ginger, from Nagaland.
- Details of both discoveries were published in two peer-reviewed journals.
- It has been discovered from the Peren district of Nagaland.
- The leafy shoots of Zingiber perenense reach up to 70 cm in height.
- The lip of the flower is white with purplish-red streaks throughout, and the pollen is ellipsoidal.
- The type specimens of Zingiber perenense were collected in September 2017, when botanists were working on the ‘State flora of Nagaland’ in the Peren district.
- It was found in the Dimapur district of Nagaland.
- It is taller in size, with leafy shoots measuring 90-120 cm high.
- The lip of the flower (modified corolla) is white in colour, with dense dark- purplish red blotches.
- Its pollen is a creamy-white and ovato-ellipsoidal, whereas the fruit is an oblong 4.5 cm-5.5 cm long capsule.
- The specimen of Zingiber dimapurense was collected in October 2016 from the Hekese village forest under the Medziphema subdivision.
- Some rhizomes of this plant collected along with field data were planted in the Botanical Survey of India’s Eastern Regional Centre garden in Shillong, where itself they began flowering in June 2018.
About Genus Zingiber
- Genus Zingiber has 141 species distributed throughout Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, with its centre of diversity in Southeast Asia.
- More than 20 species have been found in north-eastern India.
- Previous discoveries of Zingiber include Hedychium chingmeianum from the Tuensang district of Nagaland, Caulokaempferia dinabandhuensis from the Ukhrul district in Manipur in 2017, and Zingiber bipinianum from Meghalaya in 2015.
- High diversity of ginger species in northeast India reveals that the climate is conducive for the growth and diversity of the genus.
- Most species of ginger have medicinal values. More studies are required to ascertain the medicinal properties of the newly discovered species.
- The rhizome of Zingiber officinale (common ginger) is used as a spice in kitchens across Asia, and also for its medicinal value.
- Other wild species of Zingiber may also have immense horticultural importance.