Western Ghats Throws Up A New Species of Muraingrass

In News

A new species of Indian Muraingrass has been found in the Western Ghats by a team of researchers from Agarkar Research Institute (ARI) and University of Goa.

In-Detail

  • Indian Muraingrass is a high economic value species as it is commonly used as cattle fodder.
  • The new species is named Ischaemum janarthanamii.
  • Belonging to the Ischaemum family, the new species was identified after carrying out morphological studies of laterite samples collected from the outskirts of Goa’s Bhagwan Mahavir National Park.
  • The name janarthanamii of the new species is in honor of senior professor M K Janarthanam at Goa University. He contributed immensely for documenting Goa’s floristic diversity and Indian grass taxonomy.

Harsh Conditions

  • The species has survived the harsh conditions of the ecologically-sensitive Western Ghats.
  • It has survived climatic conditions like extreme heat, desiccation and is growing in nutrition poor soil.
  • As per researchers, despite the harsh conditions, the species blooms every monsoon season.

The Study

  • Researchers from ARO studied the samples for three years before confirming their finding to be a new species.
  • Their research helped in understanding the characteristics of Muraingrass in-detail.
  • Of the 85 known Ischaemum species in the world, India is home to 61 species.
  • Approximately 40 species are found in the Western Ghats alone.
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