New flowering plant species Henckelia arupii found in Arunachal

By A O News Service

ITANAGAR, Jan 11: A remarkable new flowering plant species, Henckelia arupii (Gesneriaceae), superficially similar to Henckelia adenocalyx and three other NE Indian species, has been discovered from Arunachal Pradesh, as published in Journal of Botanical Texonomy & Geobotany.

These new Henckelia species were found by researchers, including field botanist Dipankar Borah, Botanical Survey of India’s Rajeev Kumar Singh Rajiv Gandhi University (  botany department);s  Prof Hui Tag and Momang Taram.

The new species is broadly ovate foliaceous bracts covering the flower buds, in the parallel-convergent venation of the bracts and in infundibuliform corolla. However, it differs in having cymes reduced to solitary flowers, a campanulate, narrowly pleated calyx and lanceolate to elliptic revolute calyx segments. A detailed description and photographic illustration of the morphological characters is presented. So far, Henckelia arupii is only known from the type locality.

Found during trips to East Siang district in April, 2019, a few interesting specimens of Henckelia were collected. They were critically studied, consulting specimens housed in several herbaria and scrutiny of relevant literature, which revealed that the specimen were remarkably different from all other Henckelia species and led to conclusion that it was  a new species. Found in 2020, it was accepted as a new species on 16.07.20.

The striking yellow flowers found in this species are fairly uncommon as only three other Henckelia species with yellow flowers are known from NE India.

The genus genus Henckelia Spreng, currently includes 75 species and found throughout India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. In India, the genus is so far represented by 35 species, 19 of them found in the Himalayas and NE India. The species of NE India along with others found in Sri Lanka were formerly attributed to Chirita sect.

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