Sir J.D. Hooker and his co-workers have included 171 families, 2325 genera and 14,312 species of flowering plants in the Flora of British India (7 volumes, 1872-1890) which covers the areas of present day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Malayan Peninsula. In this work 170 families, 2073 genera, and 10,200 species were described from the present day political boundaries of India. In the ensuing years many genera, species, subspecies, varieties and families (Brachycaulaceae, Clethraceae and Hydatellaceae) of flowering plants have been reported as new to science/India.
The flora of India is both rich and diverse due to wide range of variations in climate, altitude and ecological habitats. In the present state of our knowledge India has about 44,500 species of plants already identified and classified, and many more are yet to be identified and described. This constitutes Angiosperms (17,450), Gymnosperms (65), Pteridophytes (1,200), Bryophytes (2,426), Lichens (2,180), Fungi (14,500), Algae (6,500) and Bacteria (850), which accounts for about 7 per cent of the total plant species of the world. About 28 per cent of the Indian plants are endemic to the country. The Indian flora is mainly concentrated in three major centers of floristic diversity viz., the Himalayas, the Western Ghats and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which are part of four of the thirty four identified 'global biodiversity hotspots', viz., Himalayas, Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, Indo Burma (NE India and Andaman Islands), and Sundaland (Nicobar Islands).
Botanical Survey of India has been actively engaged in taxonomic study of all major groups of Indian plants since its reorganization. Every year scientists of the survey publish research papers on various aspects of taxonomy including species new to science and new records. Since these papers are published in various journals, it is sometimes difficult for the research students and other stakeholders to access them in time. It has, therefore, been decided to publish new discoveries in the consolidated form to be released on World Environment Day every year.
During the year 2007 the scientists of BSI published twenty three species and six varieties (one species of Algae, two species each of Lichens and Bryophytes and eighteen species and six varieties of flowering plants) as new to science and one genus and twenty eight species, one subspecies and one variety have been reported as new to Indian Flora. The majority of the discoveries have been made from the Himalayan region followed by Western Ghats, NE India and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The Botanical Survey of India (BSI), established in 1890, serves the nation by providing scientific basis for conservation and sustainable use of wild plant diversity through survey, documentation, taxonomic research and environmental awareness.
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