Connect with us

News

New species of Nelu discovered from Knuckles

Published

on

By Ifham Nizam

Lead scientist on Molecular Biology and Plant Taxonomy Dr. Nilanthi Rajapakse of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and her team have discovered a new species of Nelu, Strobilanthes glandulataNilanthi (Acanthaceae) based on morphological and molecular data, from the Knuckles Forest Reserve.

Morphological and DNA evidence were used to distinguish the new plant species from the other closest plant species, S. lupulina.

When contacted Dr. Rajapakse told The Island that Nelu has medicinal value could be used to treat many ailments. Serving as a watershed, it plays an important ecological role. It also helps maintain soil moisture. Young plants are a delicacy of sambur. Many birds and bees come to drink the nectar of the harvested flowers. Nelu is also the host plant of some butterfly species.

Other team members are Nuwan Jayawardena of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Prof. Cyril Wijesundera of the Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Prof. Pradeepa Bandaranaike of the University of Peradeniya, Hiruna Samarakoon and Bhagya Hathurusinghe.

During the plant explorations on 22nd April 2016, Nilanthi has found an interesting Strobilanthes population with about 300 individuals growing in the shady places along the stream at Rambukoluwa in the Knuckles Mountain Range. The species named “Strobilanthus glandulataNilanthi” because the epithet glandulata refers to the glandular-hairs on the bracts. It flowers from March to May.

Nearly 450 species of Nelu are spread around the world, most of which are found in tropical and subtropical Asia. With the discovery of the new species, there are about 34 species of Strobilanthes found in the natural environment in Sri Lanka, of which 33 species are endemic to Sri Lanka. Fourteen of these species are protected by the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO).

The species has the ability to be used as a mature woody twig. Dyes such as indigo, are produced from the leaf extract of most harvested species. Land use for economic crops, illegal use of land, deforestation due to development projects, invasive plant growth, collection for firewood, arson, and climate change threaten plants. Due to these reasons, about 21 species of Nelu that are endemic to Sri Lanka are threatened with extinction.

The team thanked the Director General, Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) for the constant encouragement and facilities provided. They also thanked and Department of Forest Conservation, for permitting them to collect samples and the Agriculture Biotechnology Centre, of the Peradeniya University for molecular analysis and the National Herbarium (PDA), the Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya for the assistance in specimen examination, to Rukmal Ratnayake for the line drawings and acknowledged the Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project (EACAMP) for financial support.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman

Published

on

By

Nimal Punchihewa (Chairman ECSL) picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Nimal Punchihewa told The Island that members of  the election commission won’t be deterred by death threats.
He said that members of the commission  M M Mohamed,  K P P Pathirana and S B Diwarathne have been repeatedly threatened and the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.
Continue Reading

News

Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand

Published

on

By

At least three people have died due to flash flodding in Auckland (picture BBC)

BBC reported that at least three people have died and one is missing after New Zealand’s largest city experienced its “wettest day on record” on Friday.

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic”, he said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour flooded the airport, shifted houses and resulted in power cuts to homes for hours.

New Zealand’s defence forces were mobilised to assist with evacuations and emergency shelters were set up across the city.

Continue Reading

News

Parliament prorogued on Friday night

Published

on

President says cabinet agreeable to fully implementing 13 A until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment

Parliament was prorogued from midnight Friday (27) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe under powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, parliamentary sources said on Friday.

The Department of Government Printing was due to issue the relevant notification on Friday night but it was not out as this edition went to print.However the President’ Media Division (PMD) confirmed the prorogation on Friday evening saying that President Wickremesinghe “is expected” to make a policy statement based on the decisions taken after the 75th Independence anniversary when parliament recommences on Feb.8.

A separate bulletin said that the president had informed the party leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the cabinet was agreeable to “fully implementing (the) 13th Amendment until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.”

Parliamentary sources explained that a prorogation which is a temporary recess of parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

Political observers believe that the prorogation is related to the president’s effort to secure as wide a consensus as possible on the National Question. They dismissed speculation that it is related to the scheduled local elections. This issue was clarified by the PMD bulletin.

When parliament is prorogued, the proclamation should notify the date of the commencement of the new session of parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution.During the prorogation the speaker continues to function and MPs retain their membership of the legislature even though they do not attend meetings of the House.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent session after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation, may be proceeded with during the next session,” states the paragraph (4) of article 70 of the constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not result in an end to pending business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new session.

At the beginning of a new session all items of business which were in the order paper need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.At the end of a prorogation a new session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the president.

He is empowered under the constitution to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each session of parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of parliament in terms of the provisions of paragraph (2) of article 33 of the constitution.The president is empowered to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each new session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

Continue Reading

Trending