A new genus of a parasitic flowering plant has recently been discovered from the Nicobar group of islands. The plant species Horsfieldia glabra(Blume) Warb supports the genus Septemeranthus. The parasitic flowering plants have a modified root system that is stretched throughout the tree’s stem and attached to the bark.
The plant was discovered on the outskirts of a tropical forest in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the Nicobar group of islands, which is separated from the Andaman group of islands by a 160-kilometer gap with strong tidal currents.
Septemeranthus has its own vegetative morphology, inflorescence architecture, and floral characteristics.
The plant’s heart-shaped leaves have a very long tip, and the ovary, fruit, and seeds are urceolate (earthen pot-shaped). Five persistent bracts with visible borders are present on the blooms. Septemeranthusis gets its name from the Latin word septem, which means “seven,” and refers to the floral arrangement. The Journal of Botanical Taxonomy and Geobotany Feddes Repertorium reported the details of the finding. The genus Loranthaceae is a hemi-parasite belonging to the sandalwood order Santalales. It is widely used. Hemi-parasite plants rely on their host plants for nourishment to some extent. For example, the newly found plant that gets its nutrients from its hosts has green leaves that can photosynthesise. There are nine genera in the Loranthaceae family, which may be found all throughout the United States. The Nicobar group of islands is home to the novel genus, which is indigenous exclusively there. During field studies, I found that birds consume viscous seeds of this new genus and that seeds have the potential for pseudo viviparous germination that deposits on the leaves and branches of the same plant that is already attached to host plants,” said Lal Ji Singh, Joint Director, Botanical Survey of India, who discovered the genus. The genus’s life cycle begins all over again after germination. ”
Mistletoes are hemi-parasites that belong to 18 families, 160 genera, and 2,200 species.
They need a host tree or shrub to flourish, and they have a global distribution in both tropical and temperate ecosystems. They have evolved five times in order and are essential in forest ecology, pathology, and medicine. They are crucial because they feed frugivorous birds. In addition to Septemeranthus, four other non-parasitic plant genera, Nicobariodendron (Hippocrateaceae), Pseudodiplospora (Rubiaceae), Pubistylis (Rubiaceae), and Sphyranthera (Euphorbiaceae), were discovered earlier in the Nicobar group of islands, highlighting the region’s ecological importance. A novel hemiparasitic species from the Nicobar group of islands, Dendrophthoe laljii, was recently found.
Source: The Hindu