The Dugong, often referred to as the sea cow, is actually more closely related to elephants than to the bovine namesake. Throughout much of their range, the Dugong has...
FungiLast Updated on 2014-08-28 00:25:51The word fungus usually invokes images of mushrooms and toadstools. Although mushrooms are fungi, the forms which a fungus may take are varied. There are over 100,000 species of described fungi and probably over 200,000 undescribed.
Most fungi are terrestrial, but they can be found in every habitat worldwide, including marine (500 spp.) and freshwater environments. Fungi are nonmotile, filamentous eukaryotes that lack plastids and photosynthetic pigments. The majority of fungi are saprophytes; they obtain nutrients from dead organic matter. Other fungi survive as parasitic decomposers, absorbing their food, in solution, through their cell walls.
Most fungi live on the substrate upon which they feed. Numerous hyphae penetrate the wood, cheese, soil, or flesh in which they are growing. The hyphae secrete digestive enzymes that break down the substrate, enabling the fungus to absorb the... More »
AngiospermLast Updated on 2014-08-25 13:09:22
The Angiosperms, or flowering plants, described taxonomically as the division Magnoliophyta, are the largest grouping within the plant kingdom (Kingdom ''Plantae'' or "Viridiplantae") in terms of the numbers of described species. Approximately 260,000 species of flowering plant have been named so far -- constituting nearly 90% of all known species of plants. Even so, taxonomists describe many new species annually, and estimates of total angiosperm diversity reach as high as 400,000 species. There are about 450 families of flowering plants, and they display extremely diverse life-histories and ecological adaptations. In addition to dominating plant biodiversity, angiosperms are the dominant photosynthesis/photosynthetic organisms (primary producers) in most terrestrial ecosystems (an important exception to this rule are the boreal forests,... More »
India’s Western Ghats: Biodiversity and Medicinal PlantsLast Updated on 2014-08-25 12:44:43
India’s Western Ghats is a rolling mountain range containing such great biodiversity that it has been named as one of the world's eight ‘hottest hotspots of biological diversity. Spread along the entire west coast of India, this mountain range contains a large proportion of the country's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. Over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 species of mammals, 508 species of birds, including 22 endemics, 225 species of reptiles, and 179 species of amphibians live in the region.
Starting from the northern part of Mumbai, this extensive mountain range extends over Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu to the southern tip of India.
The northern part of the range contains almost half of the reptiles, one third of the plants, and more than three fourths of the amphibians found in India. The southwestern Ghats... More »
Fenugreek Last Updated on 2014-08-22 15:04:52
(Source: Saikat Basu, own work)
Species: Trigonella foenum-graecum
Binomial name: Trigonella foenum-graecum L.
Fenugreek (Trigonella) is the oldest medicinal plant in the world. Most popular species of this genus is Trigonella foenum-graecum, where the term “foenum-graecum” means ‘Greek hay’ pointing to its use as a forage crop in the past, fenugreek is grown mainly as a spice crop in the recent times. The plant is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region1-6. There are several controversies regarding the origin of the fenugreek plant for which no proper theory as to the... More »
Apiaceae or Umbelliferae: The carrot and parsley familyLast Updated on 2014-08-22 14:29:26The Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family is comprised of over 280 genera and nearly 3,000 species, distributed over the sub-tropical, sub-temperate and temperate regions. Plants of the family are predominantly herbaceous and typcially are used commercially as aromatic medicinal plants and spices around the globe.
Leaves are alternating and either pinnately or palmately compound and exstipulate. Flowers are small, predominantly bisexual (hermaphrodite) and regular, with some variations observed across different genera. Calyx is characterized by 5 sepals, corolla consists of 5 inflexed petals (often absent in some genera). The androecium consists of 5 stamens and the gynoecium is comprised of a compound pistil produced due to fusion of the two carpels and characterized by the presence of a pair of styles staged on a broad platform (stylopodium). The ovary is of... More »
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