If you want to know the details about a herb or a medicinal plant in Madhya Pradesh, you can do it with a click now. The state government has created a virtual herbarium to highlight medicinal plants and herbs online.
The state has one of the richest repositories of biological diversity in the country, housing four major forest types, over 5000 plant species, including nearly a 1000 medicinal plants, MP State Biodiversity Board officials said.
R Sreenivasa Murthy, member secretary of the biodiversity board, said the digital version of herbarium was free from risks involved in long-term preservation, and can be accessed by a person from anywhere in the world. The link is www. virtualherbarium.mpsbb.info.
“If you know the common name of a plant, you will get details such as its botanical name, family, habitat, colour of the flower, key characteristics and a detailed plant description along with the photographs of the plant and its flowers,” he said. “There are also filters like flowering period, fruiting period, colour of the flower and so on.”
When the specimens acquire a digital mode in the virtual herbarium, the physical availability of a mounted herbarium is not required, Murthy said.
“The state is in the process of adopting ‘guidelines on access to biological resources and associated knowledge and benefits sharing regulations 2014’, following which companies, traders, manufacturers using biological resources (plant and animal parts or products) from MP for research, commercial application or industrial use, will have to share benefits,” he said.
“Creating an online tool that allows stakeholders, students, researchers, farmers and people in general will go a long way in apprising people about the details of the herbs and medicinal plants they want to know.”
The biodiversity board, a statutory body under the forest department, focuses on research, documentation of facets of biodiversity; it encourages constitution of biodiversity management committees (BCMs) and promotes conservation of rare and endangered species.