In News :  Tylophora neglecta discovered from the Western Ghats species of Asclepiadaceae family

  • Two new plant species belonging to the Asclepiadaceae or milkweed family have been discovered by a team of researchers from the shola forests of the Western Ghats.
  • Latex in plant parts and pappus seeds are the general characteristics of the family
Tylophora balakrishnanii
  • It is a vine discovered from the Thollayiram shola in Wayanad, a biodiversity hotspot
in the Nilgiri biosphere reserve.
  • Flowers of the plant are reddish-pink and the species is similar to the coastal plant Tylophora flexuosa. However, it differs in the arrangement and morphology of its floral parts
  • The species has been christened after V. Balakrishnan, member-secretary, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, and former director of the MSSRF, Wayanad, in recognition of his contributions to biodiversity.
Tylophora neglecta
  • The plant has been discovered from the shola forest on the Thooval Mala hill under the Achencoil forest division in Kollam.
  • The flowers of the new species are white with a violet tinge.
  • Its leaves are thick and bristly in nature.
Asclepiadaceae- Milkweed family
  • Plants of Asclepiadaceae family are annual and perennial herbs, shrubs, and vines with milky sap, simple, usually opposite leaves, flowers with 5 petal-like and fruit in the form of dry seed pods filled with numerous seeds. The seeds have tufts of silky hair.
species of Asclepiadaceae family Distribution of Asclepiadaceae:
  • The family Asclepiadaceae has about 320 genera and 2,000 species of worldwide distribution but is mostly confined to the tropics and sub-tropics.
  • In India 332 species belonging to 35 genera are found, mostly in the Himalayas, southern and western India.
Economic Importance of Asclepiadaceae
  • Ornamental- The family Asclepiadaceae contributes several ornamental as well as drug yielding plants.
  • Cloth material- Hairs obtained from the seeds of several species are used as an insulating material for lining jackets and other winter wear.
  • Medicine- The roots of Tylophora indica are used as a medicine for the treatment of respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough.
  • Insecticide- The plant Cynanchum arnotianum is used as an insecticide.
  • Blood purifier- The dried roots of Hemidesmus indices are used as a blood purifier. It is used in chronic rheumatism, urinary diseases and also in skin diseases.
  • Medicine- Gymnema Sylvestre is used as a stomachic, stimulant, laxative and diuretic. It is also useful in cough, biliousness, and sore eyes.
  • Latex- The latex of Calotropis gigantean and Calotropis Procera is used in the tanning industry for deodorizing, removing hair and imparting a yellow color to the hides.
  • Rubber- Cryptostegia Grandiflora is a natural source of rubber in India.
  • Fibre obtained from the stems of Asclepias curassavica, Tylophora tenius, Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Marsdenia roylei, Calotropis gigantica, and Cosmostigma racemosa is used as cordage, fishing nets, and twines.
  • Poison- Some species of Asclepias are important as live-stock poison. The sap of Matelea has been used as an arrow poison. Read More Articles: Scientists decode genome of ‘miracle plant’ Where To Plant A Trillion Trees To Save Planet Earth?