Monday 16 April 2018

Smilax sailenii: A new species of Greenbrier from Assam State, India.

Greenbriers, Smilax spp., are thorny vines closely related to Lilies. There are between 300 and 350 species around the world, found predominantly in the tropics. There are currently 33 described species in India, the majority from the Himalayan region.

In a paper published in the journal Taiwania on 23 February 2018, Sanjib Baruah of the Department of Botany at Bodoland University, Jatindra Sarma of the Hamren Territorial Division of the Department of Environment & Forest, and Sachin Kumar Borthakur of the Department of Botany at Gauhati University describe a new species of Greenbrier from Assam State in India.

The new species is named Smilax sailenii in homour of Sailendra Prasad Borah, formerly of the Department of Botany at Gauhati University, who passed away in 2012. The species is a woody vine with a prickly stem, producing greenish female flowers in clusters of 18-22 in September to October, that develop into green fruit up to 3 cm in diameter that become red when white.

Smilax sailenii, fruiting branch. Baruah et al. (2018).

The species was found growing in a subtropical forest at altitude of between 300 and 400 m above sealevel, in an area currently subject to rapid deforestation. For this reason Baruah et al. recommend that the species be treated as Critically Endangered under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

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