Saturday, June 19, 2021

Rare orchid plant found in Dudhwa National Park

Lakhimpur: A rare orchid plant variety has been found in the Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh. Popularly known as Ground Orchid (eulophia obtusa), the variety is categorised as an ‘endangered species’ under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Never in the history of Dudhwa or any other forest area in the state, has this orchid been seen.

It was 118 years back when Kew Herbarium of England had documented the orchid. This species was last sighted in Pilibhit in 1902.

Dudhwa field director Sanjay Pathak said: “On June 30, along with Mudit Gupta (WWF) and Fazlur-rehman (Katraniaghat Foundation), I was carrying out a grassland survey in Kishanpur and Sonaripur ranges in Dudhwa Reserve when we saw a group of plants with bunches of delicate flowers, grown with long-standing grasses. Out of curiosity, we clicked them as these were never before reported. We later contacted environmentalists and botanists to identify the plant. We approached Mohd Sharif Saurabh who works in the environmental science and management department of North South University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He had documented a slightly different orchid variety in his country.”

He said that it took three days to identify the orchid and its details and on Saturday, the orchid was established to be the rare species ‘eulophia obtusa’.

Pathak further said that there were no authenticated records about this orchid species were available in India, though some reports mentioned its presence in north India and Nepal.

Incidentally, Fazlur-rehman had rediscovered the rare Red Kukri snake in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in July 2012.

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