Flora & Fauna in News


  • A tree species native to Assam and parts of Northeast India. Also known as Gharuwood and Aloeswood.
  • Uses: For aromatic, medicinal and religious purposes.
  • It is called ‘Xasiin Assamese and is most famed for its utility in making expensive perfumes.
  • Often termed as ‘liquid gold’ due to its high demand in Arab countries.
  • Only infected Agarwood tree (either by fungal infection or by the borer insect produces dark resin (as a defense mechanism), that makes the aromatic oil.
  • IUCN status: Critically Endangered.


  • An Indian endemic tree species, with a restricted geographical range in Eastern Ghats especially in Seshachalam forests of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It has no aroma like regular sandalwood tree, the heartwood of it is heavily impregnated with a natural red dye called ‘santalin,’ for which it is valued and considered among the finest luxury woods globally.
  • Red Sanders are known for their rich hue & therapeutic properties, are high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan, for use in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft and musical instruments.
  • Directorate General of Foreign Trade, under Ministry of Commerce & Industry, has revised its export policy to permit the export of red sanders if it is obtained from cultivated land.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered (Changed) & Appendix II of CITES.
  • The species is cultivated within Sri Lanka, China, around its wild range states and also in Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal within India.
  • Red Sanders is a very slow-growing tree species that attains maturity in natural forests after 25-40 years.
  • Under the foreign trade policy of India, the import of Red Sanders is prohibited, while export is restricted.


  • A shrub found in shola forests of Western Ghats between height of 1000 m to 2000 m. Blossoms once in 12 years.
  • The flower being bluish in colour paints, entire mountains blue. Nilgiri mountains is named after it.
  • Last bloomed in 2018. Paliyan tribal people living in Tamil Nadu used it as a reference to calculate their age.


  • A fruit of cactus species indigenous to Americas (Mexico and Central America). Also known as Pitaya.
  • Cultivated throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
  • Does not require much water and specific soil condition, but slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5-6.5) is preferable for their growth.
  • Contains several antioxidants and rich in fiber & magnesium and a very low-calorie content.
  • Promotes growth of healthy gut bacteria which in turn results into reduction in Fatty liver, inflammation and reduced insulin resistance


  • Parliament has enacted Indian Forest Act (IFA) amendment to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of trees.
  • The amendment aims to exempt bamboo grown in non-forest areas from definition of tree. Bamboo, though, taxonomically a grass, was defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 which meant that the felling and transit of bamboo grown on forest as well non-forest land for economic use required permit.
  • However, bamboo grown in the forest areas shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927.


  • They help to filter indoor air. It is one of the few plants that can convert CO2 into oxygen at night.
  • This makes it an ideal plant for bedroom décor as it can regulate healthy airflow.


  • Bamboo palms are good at absorbing formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform and carbon monoxide from the air.
  • They are one of the best plants to remove CO2 from the air around it.


  • It is a freshwater fish species. It is also known as mosquitofish or gambezi. They feed on mosquito larvae and are used as biological control for containing pests.
  • Particularly, they have been used for controlling malaria and dengue. It is also an invasive alien species.


  • Found in Jamnagar & Dwarka districts that constituting Halar region in Saurashtra, Gujarat.
  • They are white in colour. They have a strong built and large (close to horses).
  • These donkeys are very docile in temperament and are used as pack animals during pastoralist migration and for transportation as donkey cart.
  • Communities associated with:
    • Bharwad and Rabari pastoralist communities who use them as pack animals to carry luggage during migration.
    • Kumbhar who use them in their pottery work.
    • Other species of donkeys found In India are: Spiti Donkey (Found in Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh, they are adapted to cold desert high altitude regions) and Kutchi Donkey (Found in Kutch region, grey in colour and smaller in size as compared to Halari donkeys).


  • A bird species, also known as Imperial heron, has been listed as critically endangered in IUCN red list.
  • The heron is listed as a Schedule I species in India’s Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, according it the highest legal protection.
  • Remaining population inhabits wetlands and rivers in northeastern India, Bhutan and North Myanmar.
  • The bird is extinct in Nepal and possibly extinct in Bangladesh too. 
  • The global population has dwindled to 250, out which only 50 are possibly left in India.
  • In India mainly threatened by human interference and habitat loss, while Hydro power projects in Bhutan have disrupted the nesting grounds.
  • Recent sightings at high altitude (in Arunachal Pradesh) for the first time has sparked hope for potential conservation habitats.


  • Also known as Pissouri Hound or Lahori Hound. These dogs are mainly distributed in Bagalkot and Vijayapur districts of Karnataka.
  • The KCI (kennel club of India) registers it as a Caravan Hound while the INKC (Indian national kennel club) uses the name Mudhol Hound.
  • Known for their endurance and stamina , have been used for hunting and guarding.
  • Several trials are being conducted to assess their utility as a police dogs.


  • Researchers have found a 15-meter-tall tree of coffee family in Andaman and Nicobar Island. This new species holds another significance as it is first record of genus Pyrostria in India, which is usually found in Madagascar. Named after Lal ji Singh, an official of botanical survey of India.
  • It is categorized as ‘Critically Endangered’ by IUCN, in its Red list.
  • The tree has some distinguished features like long stem with a whitish coating on the trunk, oblong-obovate (elliptical) leaves with a cuneate base.
  • Umbellate inflorescence with 8-12 flowers is another feature which distinguished this tree from other members of this genus.
  • It was first reported from South Andaman’s Wandoor forest.


  • It is a fast-growing alga (seaweed) which is known to absorb high amount of nutrients from seawater.
  • It is indigenous to Indonesia and Philippines and was introduced in Indian in 1995 for cultivation purpose.
  • Commercial significance: Important role in production of industrially lucrative polymer called Carrageenan.
  • Global Invasive Species Database of IUCN has placed Kappaphycus in the red list. IUCN has described the Kappaphycus as destructive invasive species and poses a danger to the coral reefs.
  • Kappaphycus is known to adversely impact coral reefs. Its cultivation in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Munnar adversely impact coral reefs in the region.


  • They are known for their showy clusters of large, brightly coloured flowers, and many species are popular ornamental plants in gardens and parks.
  • They are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or small trees, with woody stems and broad, leathery leaves.
  • Characteristics:
    • They exhibit an enormous diversity of size and shape, from prostrate ground covers growing no more than a few inches high to trees more than 100 feet tall.
    • Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas comprise only 0.3% of India’s geographical area but the region is home to one-third (34%) of all Rhododendron types.
    • In India, Rhododendron ponticum is the state flower of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, while Rhododendron arboreum is the state flower of Nagaland. Rhododendron niveum and Rhododendron arboreum are the state trees of Sikkim and Uttarakhand, respectively.
  • Distribution:
    • They are native to the temperate regions of Asia, North America, and Europe, as well as to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
    • They occur in a variety of habitats, including alpine regions, coniferous and broadleaved woodlands, temperate rain forests, and even tropical jungle
    • They also require a slightly acid soil to grow well.
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