Bangladesh University Rallies to Save Rare Tree


by NTDTelevision

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Students at one university in Bangladesh are working hard to preserve a special tree, the last naturally grown Talipalm tree. They are pinning their hopes on a particular program that could offer hope.

A unique tree at Dhaka University in Bangladesh has united students from across the campus.

It's believed to be the last naturally grown Talipalm tree. It was discovered at the university in the 1970s. Students want to save it because they believe its seeds may prove to have medicinal qualities.

[Prof. Maniruzzaman Khondker, University of Dhaka]:
"This is the last representative of the plant in wild. After maturity we have collected the seeds of the plant we have grown many saplings, these saplings will be distributed to in different forests and botanical gardens and some other institute for its survival so this plant can be protected from it's extinction from the world."

When the tree flowered in January of this year, students and academics stepped up their efforts to preserve the species. They collected seeds and produced up to 500 saplings.

It was discovered that its seeds may have medicinal properties as they contain antioxidants that could help fight diseases and also possibly the ageing process.

[Prof Mohammad Abdur Rashid, Chairman in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Dhaka University]:
"We collected the unripened fruits of this plant and then extracted with organic solvents. In our initial screening the extractive showed sufficient activity against organism that responsible for dysentery and typhoid. We are trying to isolate the active compound. But it is too early predict the outcome, there is no guarantee."

The talipalm was originally discovered in 1919 but it has quickly disappeared as it only flowers and bears fruit once in its lifetime before dying.

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