A new plant discovered in the Western Ghats has been named after Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala managing trustee and chief physician Aryavaidyan P.K. Warrier. The new Acanthaceae plant species found in Aralam forest regions of Kannur district has been named Gymnostachyum warrieranum. The plant, discovered by a team of researchers led by K.M. Prabhukumar and Indira Balachandran, has won international recognition with Kew Bulletin , the official journal of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the U.K., publishing it in its latest issue.
Dr. Balachandran, director of the Centre for Medicinal Plants and Research (CMPR), Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, said that they named the plant after Dr. Warrier in honour of his contribution to the Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, and dedicated service to society for more than six decades. Taxonomic studies conducted with the help of V.B. Sreekumar, K.S. Ramya, Satheesh George, K.J. Dantas, and Suma Arun Dev found that the plant was endemic to the evergreen patches of Aralam region of the Western Ghats and was hitherto unknown to science.
According to Dr. Prabhukumar, the under-shrub would grow up to 70 cm and flower between November and March. The plant has purplish flowers. Seven species of Gymnostachyum have so far been found in Kerala. The discovery of the new species has won not only Dr. Warrier but the scientists of CMPR as well the global attention in taxonomy.
The plant collected from its natural habitat has been successfully conserved at the Herbal Gardens of Arya Vaidya Sala at Kottakkal, though it has been tagged as critically endangered.