News: Recently, the Botanical Survey of India has published a new report titled 'Rhododendrons of Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalaya- An Illustrated Account', which lists 45 taxa of rhododendrons.

What are Rhododendron?
 Rhododendron is a genus of flowering plants that includes about 1,000 species, primarily native to the temperate regions of Asia, North America, and Europe, as well as to the tropical regions of southeast Asia and northern Australia.
 They are known for their showy clusters of large, brightly colored flowers, and many species are popular ornamental plants in gardens and parks.
 Rhododendrons are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or small trees, with woody stems and broad, leathery leaves.
 In India, Pink Rhododendron is the state flower of Himachal Pradesh, while Rhododendron arboreum is the state flower of Nagaland and the official State Tree of Uttarakhand.

Key Findings:
 The report reveals that the Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas are home to more than one-third (34%) of all rhododendron types found in India, despite the region comprising only 0.3% of India's geographical area.
 There are 132 taxa (80 species, 25 subspecies and 27 varieties) of rhododendrons found in India.
 Of the 45 taxa listed in the report, five are facing high threats due to anthropological pressures and climate change. Rhododendron edgeworthii, Rhododendron niveum, Rhododendron baileyi, Rhododendron lindleyi, and Rhododendron maddenii are among the threatened species.
 Rhododendron is considered an indicator species for climate change as the flowering season for rhododendrons has been found to begin as early as January for some species.

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