Sunday, 11 January 2015

Botanist from North 24 Parganas, West Bengal Reports a New Species, Amaranthus parganensis

Dr Saubhik Das, a botanist from Taki Government College (affiliated with West Bengal State University), North 24 Parganas of West Bengal discovered a new species, Amaranthus parganensis. The new species has been described from the lower Gangetic Plain of West Bengal, India. Its morphology and distributional range suggest that it is related to A. tricolor L., both adapted to tropical climate, having a sympatric distribution and similar ecology.
His findings has been published in the latest issue ( 4th issue of 23rd volume) of the journal, 'Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature' which is an official journal of Missouri Botanical Garden. 
Few months back Dr Saubik reported another new species of Amaranthus which he claims to be new to science and named it Amaranthus bengalense. This was published in 5th issue of 185th volume of the journal 'Phytotaxa'.
Amaranthus sps. Pic Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
He has published many research papers on the genus Amaranthus including a review describing domestication, phylogeny and taxonomic delimitation in underutilized grain Amaranthus where in he mentions that the genus Amaranthus L. belongs to family Amaranthaceae and is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs. They are commonly known as amaranths. Most of the species are annual weeds; few are valued as vegetables and ornamentals. Few species of Amaranthus are consumed as pseudocereals which are known as the grain amaranths, writes Dr Saubhik. The potentiality of the grain amaranths to supplement traditional commodity crops is well established. They are locally well adapted to the marginal land and demand relatively low agricultural input as compared to the traditional crops.

References
Das, S. (2015), Amaranthus parganensis (Amaranthaceae), a New Species from West Bengal, India. Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature 23(4):406-410.
Das, S., & Iamonico, D. (2014). Amaranthus bengalense (Amaranthaceae) a new species from India, with taxonomical notes on A. blitum aggregate. Phytotaxa, 181(5), 293–300.
Das, S. (2012), Domestication, phylogeny and taxonomic delimitation in underutilized grain Amaranthus (Amaranthaceae) – a status review. Feddes Repert., 123: 273–282.

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