IMPHAL, June 20 - A tiny flowering plant found at Shirui Kashung peak, the natural habitat of Manipur State flower Shirui Lily (Lilium Mackliniae) in Ukhrul district has turned out to be a carnivorous plant.
The plant which grows up to 9 cm-32 cm and having finger-nail size five-petal white flower was spotted by a team comprising of nature lovers during their recent visit to Shirui Peak, 2835 metres above sea level, in the first week of June.
The identity of the flower has been established as Shield Sundew (Drosera peltata), a carnivorous plant. It is popularly known as Paamgaa in Nepali and Kitas in Hindi. The flower is also available in other places including Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand.
Basal leaves of the plant are densely whorled, which can be absent in many cases. Upper leaves are the strangest leaves one would get to see. They are shaped like shields, which probably is the origin of its common name, according to a visitor who incidentally happens to be the curator of popular website – www.flowersofindia.net. The website meant for flower lovers, covers local names, pictures and descriptions of flowers found in India.
These shield shaped leaves have hundreds of tentacles which hold a gland that produces the dew. The dew is very thick and sticky. When an insect gets stuck to some dew, more tentacles move to get the dew covered glands against the insect to keep it from escaping. The glands atop the tentacles then secrete acids and enzymes which dissolve the insect, the website said.
The glands then re-absorb the nutrient rich fluid. The leaf stalk attaches to the centre of the shield. Generally each short stem has one or two leaves and a terminal single flower, which is flat, it added.
Last month, Khamatek Trekkers, a Ukhrul based trekkers group had spotted a pale bluish pink lily which resembles Shirui Lily, at the mountainous peak of Ngarei and Ngami Kaphung under Khamasom village in Ukhrul.