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| Last Updated:01/04/2024

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Kombirei officially declared as new addition to Indian flora

 Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, January 29 2024: Religiously associated Manipuri Kombirei or Manipuri Iris, which is considered endemic to Manipur as per the Flora of Manipur (2000), has long been misidentified (misnomer) as Iris bakeri Wall (Iridaceae) but after thorough investigation the botanical identity of this plant has been established as Iris laevigata Fisch, and become a new addition to Indian Flora with IPC Code: Int.C.24: A01H 5/00, A01H 6/00.According to a report published in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge in its Vol 23(1), January 2024 edition, in India, I.laevigata Fisch is the first report from Manipur, hence it is a new addition to the Indian Flora.

The report said that during 1960s, Kombirei plant was naturally growing in two wetlands of Manipur namely, Lamphelpat and Yaralpat but now it has completely vanished from its natural habitat due to various factors like habitat loss and invasion by weeds but a few hundred plants are maintained in captive farm at the periphery of Lamphelpat by a private cultural society viz., Ipathoukok.

Currently, some plants are also recorded in small pockets from two wetlands of Manipur namely, Maibam Phumlou and Ikop pat which is believed to have been established later by being brought down by the upstream rivers falling into the lakes.

Manipuri Iris is religiously offered during the Manipuri New Year viz., Sajibu Cheiraoba as a symbol of eliminating caste system.

Due to its habitat sensitivity, conservation of this plant should be prioritised, otherwise loss of this species from Mani