What is Didymocarpus janakiae?

June 25, 2024

A new plant species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh has been named Didymocarpus janakiae.

About Didymocarpus janakiae:

  • It is a new species of plant discovered from the sub-tropical forests of the West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, at an elevation of 2,300 meters above sea level. 
  • It has been named in honour of E. K. Janaki Ammal, who is a pioneering Indian botanist known for her contributions to the field of botany, especially plant breeding, genetics, and cytology.
    • In 1931, she became the first Indian woman to be awarded a doctorate in botany in the US (University of Michigan), breaking both gender and caste barriers.
  • It belongs to the plant genus Didymocarpus, commonly known as stone flower, which is part of the African Violet family (Gesneriaceae). 
    • The genus consists of 111 species, 27 of which are present in India, including the newly described species D. janakiae. 
    • They grow in pristine, undisturbed habitats like moss-covered rocks, indicating the quality of the ecosystem.
  • With a limited known population of fewer than 20 individuals found in a single location near Bomdila, West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, the D. janakiae faces a critical threat due to habitat degradation.