IMPHAL, May 28 - A team of field biologists and researchers of Manipur-based Centre for Conservation of Nature & Cultivation of Science (CCNCS) has reported a very rare and endangered species of wild citrus fruit commonly known as Indian Wild Orange (Citrus Indica) from Dailong village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.
The new wild orange was reported during a week-long Biodiversity Assessment and Research Programme from May 5-11 for declaring Dailong village as one of the key Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS) of Manipur under Manipur Biodiversity Board (MBB).
This was informed by RK Birjit Singh, State Coordinator, IBCN, Manipur who led the team. The other members of the team included S Khonachand Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, Imphal College, N Sony Meetei, Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Moirang College, Kh Brajesh Singh, Wildlife filmmaker, Gopen Laishram and Y Naba, assistant field biologists.
“The species is considered to be the most primitive and ancestor of all cultivated citrus fruits in the world and endemic to North East India,” RK Birjit said. “Earlier, the species was reported only from Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in Garo Hills of Meghalaya”, he added.
The collection of citrus genetic diversity from North-eastern part of India was taken up intensively by a noted Japanese plant taxonomist Chozaburo Tanaka during early part of 1928-1937 and several new citrus species were identified and documented from the North East. The species is known to the people of Tamenglong district particularly to Dailong village as “Biurengthai”, he said.
The credit goes to Ahumei Pammei, Heamkamang Gonmei, Khonachand Singh for spotting the plant and the entire members of the survey team and the people of Dailong village for conserving the biodiversity of the area.
Dailong and other villages of Tamenglong district were conserving forest in the form of sacred groves known as “Raengan”, meaning gateway conservation (resting) site of the farmers which is precursor to all conservation activities of all the tribes in the hill districts of Manipur.