African violets

Context

  • Recently, a new species of African violets found in Mizoram for the first time in India.

About African violets

  • The newly-described species, Didymocarpus vickifunkiae is currently known from only three locations near the north-eastern State’s border with Myanmar and is considered an endangered species.
  • It is an epiphyte — a plant that grows on trees — and produces light pink flowers during the monsoons.
  • Commonly known as African violets, Didymocarpus is a genus belonging to the plant family Gesneriaceae whose members are distributed in Asia from Western Himalayas to Sumatra.

    African violets
    Source: The Hindu

  • Most of these species are narrow endemics and require specialised habitats to survive, thus acting as an indicator of pristine habitats.
  • There are 106 currently known species of this genus, of which 26 are in the northeast.
  • African violets, native to Tanzania and Kenya have been popular in the horticultural world, often used indoors in European countries.
  • Its discovery has underscored the floral diversity of the northeast that has a unique biogeographic placement as a part of two biodiversity hotspots — the Indo-Burma and the Eastern Himalayas.
  • The concentration of this genus is in the northeast.

Source: The Hindu


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