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- Cycas pectinate Plant, an evergreen, palm-like plant with a Jurassic link is under stress in Bhutan.
About the plant
- Cycas pectinata, listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, is the only cycad species found in Bhutan.
- Cycas pectinata belongs to the family Cycadaceae with 118 accepted species.
- In Trashi Yangtse, the location at Ramjar on the eastern bank of the Dangme Chhu (river) is called Bawoongshing-pek, meaning the hill of Cycas pectinata.
- Scottish surgeon and botanist Francis Buchanan-Hamilton first described Cycas pectinatain 1824 from what is believed to be a part of modern-day Assam.
- Cycas in general are culturally and economically significant for native populations.
- Some locals in northeast India use the plant for religious ceremonies.
- Locals in some places (of Bhutan) use its seeds as a supplement to their diet and young leaves are eaten as a substitute for vegetables.
- Overcollection as an ornamental plant, habitat destruction, and low seed production are threatening the Cycas pectinate.
- Low seed production and predators such as wild boars could also be checking the expansion of the plant’s population.
- Cycads are one of the most ancient gymnosperms, possibly originating in the late Carboniferous period 300-325 million years ago and reaching the greatest diversity during the Jurassic-Cretaceous period when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
- Gymnosperms have open-to-air unfertilised seeds to be directly fertilised by pollination.
- The genetic information contained in cycads makes them valuable for scientific research and conservation.
- Cycads are bridges in major evolutionary transitions in plants and remain indispensable for understanding the origin and subsequent evolution of seed plants.
Q) Which of the following statements with reference to Cycads is/are correct?
a. Cycas pectinata is the only cycad species found in India.
b. Cycads are bridges in major evolutionary transitions in plants and remain indispensable for understanding the origin and subsequent evolution of seed plants.
Correct Answer: II