In news- A team of researchers from India and the Philippines recently discovered a 15-meter-tall tree that belongs to the genus of the coffee family from the Andaman Islands.
About the tree-
- Pyrostria is a genus of dioecious flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae.
- Most of the species are endemic to Madagascar, others occur on islands in the western Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Comoros, Réunion, Rodrigues, Socotra), a few are found in continental Africa, and only six species occur in tropical Southeast Asia.
- The new species, Pyrostria laljii, is the first record of the genus Pyrostria in India.
- The tree is distinguished by a long stem with a whitish coating on the trunk, and oblong-ovate leaves with a cuneate base.
- It was first reported from South Andaman’s Wandoor forest.
- The other places in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the tree could be located are the Tirur forest near the Jarawa Rerserve Forest and the Chidia Tapu (Munda Pahar) forest.
- The discovery is unique as the species is a big tree and yet has not been recorded as a new species.\
- Other physical features that distinguish the tree from other species of the genus is its umbellate inflorescence with 8-12 flowers.
- The colour of the flowers varies from white to cream, and turns brown after pollination.
- It has been assessed as ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List.
- The other plants from the family Rubiaceae that are common in India are cinchona, coffee, adina, hamelia, ixora, galium, gardenia, mussaenda, rubia, morinda.
- The researchers have also discovered a new species of pokeweed named Rivina andamanensis growing under large trees, shaded and rocky areas, along with herbs and shrubby plants.
- It is the first record of the pokeweed family Petiveriaceae in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.