A Vitamin D3-rich weed and a shrub with roots that wild boars love to gorge on are among the 18 invasive plants stifling the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, the best-known address of the greater one-horned rhinoceros on the Earth.
- The list released by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) did not contain the “usual culprits” of many protected areas in India – parthenium and lantana that threaten more than 40% of India’s tiger reserves, according to a global study in 2020.
- It did mention ipomoea (Ipomoea carnea) and mimosa (Mimosa himalaica) but marked them as largely controlled and not much of a worry now.
- Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus) is believed to have come to India as contaminants in a consignment of wheat imported from the U.S. in the 1950s while lantana (Lantana camara) was brought by the British as ornamental plants from South America two centuries ago.
- Some weeds have herbal properties, but their toxicity outweighs their utility.
- For instance, wild boars love to gorge on the succulent rootlets of the Leea macrophylla or ‘kukura thengia’ that is fast clogging the patrolling paths and grasslands.
- Another one is the Cestrum diurnum or day-blooming jasmine of West Indies origin “coming up gregariously” on the Brahmaputra sandbars.
- The plant is otherwise a source of Vitamin D3.