Uttarakhand Forest Department discovers rare carnivorous plant


The research wing of the Uttarakhand Forest department discovered a rare carnivorous plant species Utricularia Furcellata, which has been published in the Journal of Japanese botany.

The Journal of Japanese botany is a 106-year-old journal on plant taxonomy and botany and is considered one of the most prestigious journals in the field. Utricularia Furcellata is the first such publication in this journal by the Uttarakhand Forest Department.

A team of the Research Wing of the Uttarakhand forest department, consisting of Range officer Harish Negi and Junior Research Fellow Manoj Singh, discovered Utricularia Furcellata in the Mandal valley in September 2021.

”This is the first such recording/sighting of this rare carnivorous plant not only in Uttarakhand but in the entire western Himalayan region of India. In fact, after 1986, this species could not be collected from any part of India,” said Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Chief Conservator of Forest (Research).

This discovery has extended its range of distribution westward. However, the species face threat due to heavy biotic pressure because of being at a tourist spot.

The plant belongs to a genus, commonly known as bladderworts, which uses one of the most sophisticated and developed plant structures for trap and its targets range from protozoa to insects, mosquito larvae and even the young tadpoles. Its operation is based on a mechanical process, that is, by creating a vacuum or negative pressure area to draw prey inside the trap door.

These plants are mostly found in fresh water and wet soil. Notably, the discovery was a part of a project on the study of insectivorous plants in Uttarakhand, which was approved by the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) in the year 2019.

This was the first such comprehensive study in the state and so far, around 20 plant species belonging to the genus Drosera, Utriculariaand Pinguicula have been found.

Earlier also, the search for a rare orchid species Liparis Pygmaean by the research wing was reported in the French Journal Richardiana in September 2020, which also added a new orchid species Cephalanthera erecta var. oblanceolata to the list of Indian flora last year, besides adding many more orchid species to the list of earlier recorded orchid species in Mandal valley of Chamoli district.

Carnivorous plants have aroused new interest in the scientific community across the world because of their completely distinct manner of arranging food and nutrition through intelligent trap mechanisms as compared to the photosynthesis used by normal plants. The carnivorous plants otherwise generally grow on the poor nutrient soil and have potential medicinal benefits.


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