Lalbagh starts digitisation of its rich plant wealth

Lalbagh starts digitisation of its rich plant wealth

Park officials and taxonomists are documenting the species.

Aiming to attain a global stature like London’s famous Kew Gardens, Lalbagh Botanical Gardens has embarked on large-scale digitisation of its plant wealth drawn from across the world.

It will also maintain a germplasm, meaning seeds and tissues, for further propagation of species through plant exchange with other botanical gardens of the world.

Buoyed by the success of nurturing more than 2,508 species on its 240-acre expanse, the park officials, assisted by noted taxonomists, have been meticulously documenting the plant wealth for the past six months in a scientific way.

Giving details of the project to DH, Dr N Jagadish, joint director (Parks and Plantations), Horticulture said that the decision was taken after it was approved by the technical advisory committee headed by ecologist A N Yellappa Reddy.

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“We have entrusted the work to noted taxonomist Prof Ravikumar from the Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) and his team of botanists. It is a one-year project and the team is halfway through it already. The team will take the GI coordinates of the plant and document them accordingly with botanical and common names. This helps in maintaining the inventory and in case of any damage to the plant due to wind and rain, we can replant a new seedling in the same place,” Jagadish briefed.

The taxonomists have been documenting the plants using binomial nomenclature.

“The nomenclature keeps changing according to global standards and we need to update them. For example, the botanical name of Honge (Pongamia) has changed from Pongamia pinnata to Millettia pinnata. Taxonomists will identify these changes and include both the names in the registry. The data of these plants will be published online and will be available to all.”

Officials said digitisation of taxonomic details will solve the problem of dispersal and helps in adding to the collection. “With the wide variety of species we have, we will have a germplasm that will help in exchange of species with similar botanical gardens both in India and abroad. This is akin to the exchange of animals between zoos,” Dr Jagadish said.