Argyreia Sharadchandrajii: New Plant Species Named After Ex-Indian Agriculture Minister

Surrounded by bodies of water on three sides and guarded by the mighty Himalayas, the Indian peninsula is blessed with a bounty of flora and fauna spread across the country. Discoveries of new plants and animal species in India often make it to global headlines.

A new species of flowering plants has been discovered and named after former Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in the Kolhapur district of the Western Ghats, a mountain range located in the state of Maharashtra.

Aged 80 years, Pawar served as the federal agriculture minister between 2004 and 2014. He is presently one of the key politicians in Maharashtra and heads the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a ruling alliance partner with Shiv Sena in the state.  

Citing Pawar’s “immense contribution to Indian agriculture”, researchers involved in discovering the new flowering plant have named it “Argyreia Sharadchandrajii”.

Botany professor at a college in Kolhapur, Vinod B. Shimpale, who was part of the team that discovered the plant, revealed his special connection with Pawar when the latter served as India’s agriculture minister.

“He helped me financially for publishing my research on the flora in Baramati in the form of a book”, Shimpale told the Indian media.

Talking about the new plant, Shimpale revealed that it belongs to the Argyreia genus and is only found in India. Out of the 40 subspecies of this genus, 17 are endemic to India.

This is not the first time that a newly found species has been named after a politician in India.

Earlier in 2019, a bug species discovered in Tamil Nadu was named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

In fact, in November 2020, a group of researchers working and documenting “Amphibians in the Deccan Plateau Parts of Karnataka” named a newly found frog species – “Sphaerotheca Bengaluru” – after India’s own tech-backed “Silicon Valley”, Bengaluru, which is the capital of the southern state of Karnataka.

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