Context: A rare palm endemic to the South Andaman Island is finding a second home at Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI),Palode,Kerala. 

About Pinanga andamanensis: 


  • It was originally described by the Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari in 1934.
  • The name is derived from ‘Penang’, the modern-day Malaysian state. “Penang itself has its origins in ‘Pulau Pinang’, which means ‘Island of the Areca Nut Palm’.
  • It was based on an old herbarium specimen collected by E.H. Man, a late-19th century assistant superintendent in the Andaman administration. 
  • It was thought to be extinct till 1992.

More about it: 

  • At first glance, Pinanga andamanensis — which at one point was written off as extinct — resembles the areca palm to which it is closely related. 
  • But its entire population of some 600 specimens naturally occurs only in a tiny, evergreen forest pocket in South Andaman’s Mount Harriet National Park.
  • The Pinanga andamanensis “a critically endangered species and one of the least known among the endemic palms of the Andaman Islands”.
  • Significance: By conserving the germplasm on the Indian mainland, JNTBGRI can ensure its continued survival in the event of its minuscule original home getting wiped out by, say, a natural calamity.

Critically endangered 

  • A critically endangered (CR) species is one that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • A category containing those species that possess an extremely high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 80 to more than 90 percent over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 50 individuals, or other factors

Significance of Palm oil

  • It is the cheapest edible oil available naturally.
  • Its inert taste makes it suitable for use in foods ranging from baked goods to fried snacks.
  • It stays relatively stable at high temperatures, and is therefore suitable for reuse and deep frying.

Favourable climatic conditions

  • It is a humid tropical crop: It thrives best in areas where temperature ranges from 22 degree celsius to 24 degree celsius(minimum) and Maximum 33 degree celsius.
  • It requires 5 to 6 hours of bright sunshine and 80 percent humidity.
  • It requires evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year of 2500 to 4000 mm.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/rare-palm-from-andamans-gets-second-home/article31618844.ece

Image Source: The hindu