Germplasm of over 27k plants collected from Uttarakhand so far
The National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) Regional centre Bhowali in Kumaon has collected germplasm of over 27,000 plants in the form of seeds and saplings under its initiative to document and preserve the agro-biodiversity of the Himalayan state, officials said.
The germplasm of plant varieties that have been collected so far include cereals, pseudo-cereals, millets, minor millets, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables, spices, condiments, medicinal plants, aromatic plants, wild relatives of crops and fruits and ornamental crops
Mamta Arya, in charge of NBPGR regional centre Bhowali in Nainital district, said, during various explorations in the state so far, they have collected germplasm of over 27000 plants, including 200 varieties of rice and over 800 varieties of wheat found in the state.
“The main aim of collecting the germplasm is to protect and preserve the agro-biodiversity found in the Himalayan state. Suppose, if some variety goes extinct, we can again bring it back from the germplasm we have collected so far,” she said.
Arya said that germplasm is collected in two forms. “In case of plants whose seeds can be stored for a long time, we collect seeds, like in case of stony fruits like plums, almonds and so on. However, in the case of plants, where seeds cannot be collected, we collect live plants in our field gene banks. One sample we store here and another is sent to the national gene bank located at New Delhi,” she said, adding, that so far, germplasm of over 4.5 lakh plants has been collected from across the country.
Arya emphasised that the germplasm collection will help in protecting the traditional and wild species crops and fruits found in the state. “Based on our collection and knowing the characteristics of these plants, we can also make suggestions to the farmers on various aspects and also encourage them to grow exotic plants like aromatic plants. Lakhs of seedlings and cuttings of promising aromatic crops like Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia), Sweet Marjoram (Marjorana hortensis), Caraway (Carum carvii), China Pati (Artemisia annua), Lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) have been provided to growers and farmers so far,” she said.
She said they have also created an inventory and established agro-techniques for growing ten rare, threatened, endemic, endangered and commercially important plant species. “These ten species include Acorus calamus (Bach), Coleus forskohlii (Patharchoor), Curcuma zedoaria (Karchoor), Hedychium spicatum (Spiked ginger lilly), Lavendula angustifolia (Lavender), Pelargonium graveolens (Rose geranium), Piper retrofractum (Chabya), Pistacia integerrima (Kakarsingi), Valeriana jatamansi (Indian Valerian), Zanthoxylum armatum (Timoor),” she said.
According to the website, the NBPGR has its headquarters in New Delhi. The bureau draws guidelines from the Crop Science Division of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, Institute Management Committee, Research Advisory Committee, Institute Research Council and Germplasm Advisory Committees. The bureau has 10 regional stations located in different phytogeographical zones of the country, including Bhowali in Nainital district. The Bhowali centre was established in 1985 and is responsible for the exploration, characterization, evaluation and multiplication of agri-horticultural crops of the state’s sub-tropical and sub-temperate regions.