‘Cryptocarya muthuvariana’, a new tree species of the genus Cryptocarya has been spotted in Edamalakkudy in Idukki district. It has been named after the Muthuvar tribe in order to honour them as it was discovered in their locality.
The tree belongs to Lauraceae family with the genus Cryptocarya, comprising of over 300 species that are widely distributed over South America, South Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australia and Oceania. ‘Cryptocarya muthuvariana’ grows to a height of about 10 to 15 m and is characterised by not-too-broad leaves.
The researchers from Kerala University and Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) came across the new species during surveys on endemic and threatened species of the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats is home to around nine species of the genus Cryptocarya.