What is Didymocarpus janakiae?

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What is Didymocarpus janakiae?  Blog Image

Overview:

A new plant species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh has been named Didymocarpus janakiae.

About Didymocarpus janakiae:

  • It is a new species of plant discovered from the sub-tropical forests of the West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, at an elevation of 2,300 meters above sea level. 
  • It has been named in honour of Dr. E. K. Janaki Ammal, who is a pioneering Indian botanist known for her contributions to the field of botany, especially plant breeding, genetics, and cytology.
    • In 1931, she became the first Indian woman to be awarded a doctorate inbotany in the US (University of Michigan), breaking both gender and caste barriers.
  • It belongs to the plant genus Didymocarpus, commonly known as stone flower, which is part of the African Violet family (Gesneriaceae). 
    • The genus consists of 111 species, 27 of which are present in India, including the newly described species D. janakiae. 
    • They grow in pristine, undisturbed habitats like moss-covered rocks, indicating the quality of the ecosystem.

With a limited known population of fewer than 20 individuals found in a single location near Bomdila, West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, the D. janakiae faces a critical threat due to habitat degradation.


Q1: What are Mosses?

Moss is any of at least 12,000 species of small nonvascular spore-bearing land plants. Mosses are distributed throughout the world except in salt water and are commonly found in moist shady locations. They are best known for those species that carpet woodland and forest floors. Ecologically, mosses break down exposed substrata, releasing nutrients for the use of more-complex plants that succeed them. They also aid in soil erosion control by providing surface cover and absorbing water, and they are important in the nutrient and water economy of some vegetation types.

Source: New plant species found in Arunachal named after botanist Dr Janaki Ammal