• A rare palm endemic to the South Andaman Island is finding a second home at Thiruvananthapuram-based Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI).
• JNTBGRI scientists termed the Pinanga andamanensis “a critically endangered species and one of the least known among the endemic palms of the Andaman Islands”.
• Its entire population of some 600 specimens naturally occurs only in a tiny, evergreen forest pocket in South Andaman’s Mount Harriet National Park.
• By conserving the germplasm on the Indian mainland, JNTBGRI can ensure its continued survival in the event of its minuscule original home getting wiped out by a natural calamity.
• This elegant palm holds promise as an avenue tree for gardens, pavements, and homesteads.
• The name is derived from ‘Penang’, the modern-day Malaysian state. Penang itself has its origins in ‘Pulau Pinang’, which means ‘Island of the Areca Nut Palm.
Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: Pinanga andamanensis