What is Allium Negianum – a new plant species discovered in Uttarakhand?

 Allium Negianum can be found along the open grassy meadows, sandy soils along the rivers, and the streams forming in snow pasture lands along the alpine meadows, where the melting snow helps in carrying its seeds to more favourable areas.

Created On: Oct 19, 2021 12:54 IST
Allium Negianum
Allium Negianum

A plant discovered in 2019 in Uttarakhand has been confirmed as a new species of Allium- a genus that includes many staple foods such as garlic and onion, among 1,100 species worldwide. The new species found in Uttarakhand has been described in the journal Phytokeys.

The primary center of evolution for the Allium extends across the Irano-Turanian bio-geographical region, and the Mediterranean basin and western North America are considered as the secondary centers of diversity.

The scientific name Allium Negianum, given to the newly discovered species of Allium, honours the late Dr. Kuldeep Singh Negi who was an explorer and the collector of Allium.

Discovery of Allium Negianum

Dr. Anjula Pandey, Principal Scientist at ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, together with scientists K Madhav Rai, S Rajkumar, and Pawan Kumar Malav, in 2019, came across the plants of this onion species, which they have now named Allium Negianum.

It was discovered by the scientists in the border area of Malari Village, in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Allium Negianum: Key details

Allium Negianum can grow at 3,000 to 4,800 m above sea level.

It can be found along the open grassy meadows, sandy soils along the rivers, and the streams forming in snow pasture lands along the alpine meadows, where the melting snow helps in carrying its seeds to more favourable areas.

• This newly described species, with narrow distribution, is restricted to the region of the Western Himalayas and has not yet been reported from anywhere else in the world.

Known under domestic cultivation

Even though new to science, Allium Negianum has been long known under the domestic cultivation to the local communities. As per the locals of the area, the onion from Niti Valley was particularly good and was deemed the best in the market.

Allium Negianum, so far only known from the Western Himalayan Region, might be under pressure from people looking to taste it. The researchers also fear that the indiscriminate harvest of its leaves and bulbs for seasonings may pose a greater threat to its wild population.

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