Cryptocaria Muthuvariana

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    In News 

    • A new tree species of the genus Cryptocarya was spotted in Edamalakkudy in Idukki district of Kerala.
      • The researchers came across the new species during surveys on endemic and threatened species of the Western Ghats

                                                                Image Courtsey: TH

    About Cryptocaria Muthuvariana

    • It has been named so to honour the Muthuvar tribe and as it was discovered in their neighbourhood.
      • This is the first time a plant from Kerala has been given its name in honour of the Adivasis.
    • Belonging to the Lauraceae family, the genus Cryptocarya comprises over 300 species that are widely distributed over South America, South Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australia and Oceania. 
    • It grows to a height of about 10 to 15 m and is characterised by not-too-broad leaves. 
    • Significance:
      • The team has underscored the need to study aspects related to ecological importance, medicinal value and sustainable use of the new tree species

    Muthuvar/Muthuvan Tribe

    • In Malayalam, the word Muthuvan means those who carry something on their back. 
    • It is said that they carried their children and belongings on their back during their migration to the Western Ghats, hence they were called Muthuvan
    • They speak a dialect of their own. The patois is a debased form of Tamil. They speak to others either in Malayalam or Tamil. The Muthuvan have six matrilineal clans (Koottams), viz. Melae koottam, Kana koottam, Thushani koottam, Kanya koottam, Elli koottam and Puthani koottam with hierarchical order. Each koottam is again divided into six lineages. 
      • The functions of these divisions are mainly for a marriage alliance, to keep up the social status and to indicate descent and ancestry. 
    • They are mainly a landowning community. 
    • Traditionally the Muthuvans are nomadic agriculturists, hunters and trappers and they are tribal religionists. 
    • The present-day Muthuvans claims that they are Hindus.

    Source: TH