Extinct tree found after 185 years in Kollam temple
Palode (Thiruvananthapuram): A tree species, believed to be extinct, was discovered after 185 years from the sacred grove at the Ayiravalli Shiva temple in Koonayil near Pavaroor in Kollam. A research team at the Palode Botanical Garden (TBGRI) spotted the Madhuca diplostemon from the family Sapotaceae. They have named it locally as Kavilippa.
S Shailajakumari, who has been doing her PhD researching on trees, found the sacred groves at the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University and identified the tree. It was erroneously believed to be the common Attilippa (Madhuca neriifolia). However, the team of researchers ES Santhoshkumar, AK Sreekala, B Parthipan and R Premkumar along with Shailajakumari found it different from Attilippa.
Madhuca diplostemon was first identified in 1835, by Robert Wight, a surgeon-botanist with the East India Company. This was also spotted in Kollam.
Studies show that since then, the species were not found anywhere in the world. Following this, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) included it in endangered species list.