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“Anti-cancer battle”; New species of plant found in Assam

Researchers of westward Assam’s Bodoland University have reported a distinct plant species that may move a great way in fighting cancer. The species, marked Ophiorrhiza recurvipetala, has been discovered at 675 meters over mean sea level in central Assam’s Dima Hasao district. It has been organized under the Rubiaceae species of flowering plants, to which the plant producing coffee.

Recurvipetala indicates petals curled back. The finding of the species was published in the March 2021 edition of the Nordic Journal of Botany.“This is a new species to plant science and maybe a potential anticancer research candidate. All members of this group have a secondary metabolite called Camptothecin used in colon cancer,” Sanjib Baruah, assistant professor of Bodoland University’s Department of Botany said.He co-authored the research with scholars Birina Bhuyan of Bodoland University and Selim Mehmud of Guwahati’s Cotton University.“It is now our turn to find the Camptothecin content occurring in this novel species. There is a possibility to cultivate this species as a promising medicinal plant for the northeast, but its agrotechnology is not known,” Dr. Baruah told.

The researchers had given a few months in the mountainous regions of Jatinga and Haflong in Dima Hasao district to discover a few plants on a wooded mound. “The new species is restricted to this area where it grows in moist shady places,” he said. Ophiorrhiza is a predominantly herbaceous genus disseminated from eastern India to the West Pacific from South China to northern Australia. According to the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, 2017, it is a distinctly species-rich and taxonomically complex species with about 318 varieties worldwide.

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In India, 47 species and nine species have been recorded and among them, 21 varieties and one variety are from the northeast. The Ophiorrhiza recurvipetala is a perennial herb with the greatest height of 60 cm and is branched. It produces a soft white flower.

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