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Indian Scientists Find Rare Plant

November 7, 2006

NEW DELHI (AP) – Indian scientists working in a tropical forest in the country’s remote northeast have found a rare medicinal plant last seen 115 years ago, a scientific journal reported.

The botanists were working in the Upper Subansiri district of Arunchal Pradesh, an Indian state that borders China, when they found a specimen of “Begonia Tessaricarpa,” according to this month’s issue of Current Science, an Indian journal. The journal did not say when they found the plant.

The herbaceous plant was once regarded as having medicinal properties by the region’s ethnic tribes, and reportedly was used to treat stomach aches and dehydration. It’s juices were also reportedly used to ward off leeches.

The plant was first listed in scientific literature by British scientist C. B. Clarke in 1879 and 1890, but had not been seen since, the journal reported.

“This species is still surviving in a few pockets of Arunachal Pradesh and was found growing in damp rocky places,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Kumar Ambarish of the Botanical Survey of India as saying.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the journal’s report.




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