THISMIA MALAYANA (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     8th June 2024        
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Context: Researchers recently discovered that a new plant species, Thismia malayana steals nutrients from underground fungi.

Thismia malayana

  • About: It is a newly discovered plant species belonging to the group of mycoheterotrophs.
  • Group: Mycoheterotrophs, such as Thismia malayana, do not undergo photosynthesis but instead act as parasites, obtaining carbon resources from fungi on their roots.
  • Habitat: Discovered in the tropical rainforests of Peninsular Malaysia, specifically in Gunung Angsi Forest Reserve and Gunung Benom in the Tengku Hassanal Wildlife Reserve.
  • Nutrition: Thismia malayana obtains its carbon resources from fungi on their roots.
  • Interconnectedness: The existence of Thismia malayana highlights the intricate interconnectedness within ecosystems, particularly between plants and fungi.
  • Adaptation: This plant demonstrates adaptation through its symbiotic relationship with colonizing fungi, a relationship typically benefiting both parties.
  • Proliferation: Thriving in low-light conditions of dense forest understories, Thismia malayana has specialized flowers pollinated by fungus gnats and other small insects.
  • Conservation Status: Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to threats to its habitat and population.