Thirty-nine newly documented plant species of Great Nicobar, India

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Kanakasabhapathi Pradheep
Kattukkunnel Joseph John
Iyyappan Jaisankar
Sudhir Pal Ahlawat


A constituent of the Sundaland Biodiversity Hotspot, Great Nicobar in the Nicobar group of islands, India, is known for rich floristic diversity.  As this geographically distinct and southernmost island of India has not been surveyed for plant genetic resources, three survey-cum-exploration trips were undertaken during 2017–2019 to make an inventory of the taxa of importance for food and agriculture, besides their collection for ex situ conservation.  These surveys revealed the new distribution of 39 taxa (belonging to 37 genera, 24 families) in this island, including 14 new to the Nicobar group of islands and one to Andaman & Nicobar Islands.  Among the 39 taxa, 16 have the importance of being wild relatives of 15 crop species.  Fourteen species are classified as naturalized ones (including four globally recognized invasive species); some of them pose potential threat to the ecosystem of this fragile island.  Detailed field studies in this remote island will help in better understanding of phytogeography in general and impact of alien species on native plant diversity in particular.

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