Botanists from the Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI) in Hyderabad have discovered the presence of an orchid species reported never before from Telangana —Geodorum laxiflorum Griffith.

The orchid was found by the EPTRI botanists during a floristic exploration along with help of forest department officials in Bejjur forest range in Kumrambheem Asifabad district. Geodorum laxiflorum is an endemic orchid species of India, meaning that it is native to India and has not been reported from anywhere else in the world.

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Geodorum laxiflorum is found in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. A study conducted by researchers from Botanical Survey of India and Sri Krishnadevaraya University that was published in 2011 claimed the first sighting of the orchid in south India — in AP in the Nallamalla hills.

Although there is no proper data available on the orchid, a 2015 study by MS University in Baroda which claimed the first sighting of the orchid in Gujarat, mentions that the area of occupancy of the orchid was calculated to be 32 square kilometer, which puts the orchid in the endangered category under the criterion B2 as described by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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The study also lists habitat fragmentation due to clearing of forest for agricultural use and shifting cultivation in the North East of India as main threats to the existence the orchid. Geodorum genus of the orchid has about six species in India. In India, there are 1,295 species of orchid belonging to 179 genera and in Telangana, there are around eleven species of orchid.

Geodorum laxiflorum is an endemic orchid species which is native to India. It is found in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. #KhabarLive

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