New plant species found

Phidim, May 24:

A new species of plant has been discovered in the remote reaches of Prangbung VDC, in Panchthar district’s higher altitudes.

The new species was discovered as a result of a joint effort of Nepal Janjati Botanical Society and Deepjyoti Club, a non-governmental organisation active for the last four years in conserving Himalayan flora and fauna.

Botanist and leader of the foreign and domestic organisations-funded visiting team, Dr Krishna Kumar Shrestha, told this daily that the new plant was taken to London where laboratories confirmed that it was a new species.

Botanists have named the new plant “Panchthar Begonia” while it is called “Magarkanje” in the vernacular. Two months ago, Deepjyoti Club had launched its research on the new plant in the bordering Prangbung, Sidin, Memeng, Chyangthapu and Phalaincha VDCs.

During the research, the Club team found the two-feet high plant growing at an altitude of 2,600 metres. Botanist Dr Shrestha said it was a one-in-a-million find and that so far no other specimen of this plant had been found anywhere else in the world.

Deepjyoti Club Director Sunil Bantawa said research was in progress to determine whether or not this new plant has medicinal value.