Rare orchid found for first time in western Himalayas
Dehradun: Liparis Pygmaea, a rare variety of orchid, has been found for the first time in the western Himalayan region in Uttarakhand.
The flower was spotted by a team of the research wing of the Uttarakhand forest department at an altitude of 3,800 metres during a trek to Saptakund in Chamoli district in June this year, Chief Conservator of Forest (Research) Sanjiv Chaturvedi told PTI.
Samples sent by the forest department to Botanical Survey of India were confirmed as Liparis Pygmaea and the Pune-based body preserved them in its herbarium, Chaturvedi said.
The discovery made by a two-member team consisting of Range Officer Harish Negi and JRF Manoj Singh has been recognised by French scientific research journal 'Richardiana', which published a paper on the discovery.
Liparis Pygmaea is a small terrestrial orchid with beautiful flowers springing on it in the month of June-July.
As it has been found for the first time in the western Himalayas, botanists consider it a very significant discovery, the official said adding it widens the range of distribution of the species in the HImalayas.
Terming it a very important development in the study of rare orchid species whose distribution is restricted to the alpine zone of the Himlayas, Chaturvedi said appropriate measures should be taken to preserve the species which appears in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list.
Apart from one location in Uttarakhand the species has been found in the past at three locations in Sikkim and at one in West Bengal in India. It has also been sighted at one location each in Nepal and China, the paper published in the French journal said.