Indian wild orange found in forest Tamenglong district
Imphal, Dec 4 (EMN): The Indian wild orange (citrus indica) which is believed to be progenitor of all citrus species in the world, endemic to Northeast was found in the forest of Tamenglong district in Manipur bordering Nagaland and Assam.
This came to light when a forest team led by Divisional Forest Officer Arun RS of Tamenglong district accompanied by forest officials and local people discovered the wild orange plant in the forest of Chingkao village under Tousem sub division on November 30.
Informing this, Mordecai Panmei, member of Rainforest Club Tamenglong, an NGO working for wildlife and Forest Conservation said that the wild orange variety was noticed when the team was studying the possible tiger track in the village,.
The recent finding makes Tamenglong district another locations of growing wild orange in the region after Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in Meghalaya), he said.
The wild orange was first reported in the country by a Japanese taxonomist Chozaburo Tanaka from Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in 1934, according to reports. The plant was used for medicinal purposes by Garo people.
Similarly, since olden days the village elders in Tamenglong district locally known as Biuriangthai also used for medicinal and spiritual purposes.
Mordecai who is presently working for The Corbett Foundation, lamented over lack of proper documentation of biodiversity of Tamenglong forest which he said is to be a living laboratory of the scientific community.
When contacted the forest officer expressed the need for conservation activity of the rare orange species.
He said “the discovery of this species on the western side of Barak river, a new location after it was reported from other side, shows that this wild orange grows across Tamenglong forest range.”
“The germplasm of such wild species could be used for genetic resources for further breeding in case the existing orange varieties die,” he said. Before the discovery of the orange at Chingkao village, a team of field biologists and researchers of Manipur-based centre for Conservation of Nature and Cultivation of Science had reported the same wild orange variety from Dailong village in May 2016. Both Chingkao and Dailong were located above 1000 metres above sea level.
Being the largest producer of oranges among all the districts, Tamenglong has been hosting state level orange festival every year in December since 2001.