A new species of flowering plants belonging to the genus `Argyreia', recently discovered in south Maharashtra's Kolhapur district, has been named after NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
The species has been named 'Argyreia sharadchandrajii' in recognition of Pawar's contribution as Union agriculture minister, said researchers Dr Pramod R Lawand and Dr Vinod B Shimpale.
Kolhapur district falls in the famous Western Ghats ecological zone, known for its rich biodiversity.
The new species was found in the Alamprabhu 'Dev-raai' (sacred grove), said Lawand and Shimpale, who teach botany at a college in Kolhapur.
Their research paper 'Argyreia sharadchandrajii (Convolvulaceae), a new species from the Western Ghats, India' was recently published in the Journal of the Indian Association for Angiosperm Taxonomy.
Speaking to PTI, Dr Shimpale said around 40 sub-species of the Argyreia genus are found in India.
"These species are found in only Asiatic countries. Of 40, 17 are endemic to India, and now we have discovered an 18th one in theAlamprabhu Sacred Grove in Ramling hills," he said.
The plant flowers between July and September and the fruiting period lasts till December.
"It grows in open habitats and trails on grassland but remains rooted near other shrubs," Shimpale said.
Asked why it was named for Pawar, he said a few years ago Pawar had helped financially for publishing his research on the flora in Baramati -- the NCP chief's political bastion -- in the form of a book.
Another reason for naming the plant for Pawar was "his immense contribution to Indian agriculture" as a Union minister, Shimpale added.