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Rare and endemic wild citrus fruit found in Manipur

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

A rare, endemic and endangered species of wild citrus fruit having medicinal properties which was so far reported only from Meghalaya, has now been found in a remote village of Manipur.

A team of field biologists and researchers of Centre for Conservation of Nature and Cultivation of Science (CCNCS), Manipur, reported the species 'citrus indica' commonly known as Indian Wild Orange from Dailong village in Tamenglong district earlier this month.

"The species is considered to be the most primitive and ancestors of all cultivated citrus fruits in the world and endemic to north-east India. Earlier the species was reported only from Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya," said lead researcher and environmentalist R K Birjit Singh.

The species is known to local villagers as 'Biurengthai' and is known to have medicinal properties.

After a biodiversity assessment and research programme, the team of experts have asked Manipur Biodiversity Board for declaring Dailong village as one of the key biodiversity heritage site of Manipur.

"It is blessed with an extraordinary living laboratory, some of the last and healthiest tropical forest left in the entire region of north-east India," Singh said.

Rongmei tribes of Dailong and other villages of Tamenglong district were conserving forest in the form of sacred groves known as 'Raengan', which is a precursor to all conservation activities of all the tribes in the hill districts of Manipur.

S Khonachand Singh, assistant professor, department of Botany, Imphal College, N Sony Meetei, Asst professor, Dept of Zoology, Moirang College and Kh Brajesh Singh, wildlife filmmaker were part of the research team.

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First Published: Tue, May 31 2016. 14:07 IST