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Indian Virtual Herbarium

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    12th Aug, 2022

Context

Indian Virtual Herbarium, the biggest virtual database of flora in the country, is generating a lot of interest and turning out to be an eye-catching endeavour.

About

Indian Virtual Herbarium:

  • A herbarium specimen is consists of dried plant parts with labelled information on Scientific name and collection data.
  • It has immense use in plant identification, systematics studies and ecological studies.
  • The Botanical Survey of India has more than 30,00,000 herbarium specimens persevered in different herbaria located in different parts of the country.

What are Herbarium specimens?

  • A herbarium (Latin: hortus siccus) is a collection of plant samples with associated data for long-term study.
  • These materials may include pressed and mounted plants, seeds, dry fruits, wood sections, pollen, microscope slides, silica-stored materials, frozen DNA extractions, and fluid-preserved flowers or fruits; all are generally referred to as herbarium specimens.
  • Herbaria are usually affiliated with universities, museums, or botanical gardens.
  • Herbarium specimens help in research work and studies related to the subject.
  • It is also essential in plant identification, systematics studies, and ecological studies.
  • Developed by: Botanical Survey of India(BSI)
  • Purpose: It is a digital database of plants and preserved parts of plants with labelled information.
  • Features: The herbarium provides information on plants in different categories such as Cryptogams (spore-bearing plants), Phanerogams (seed-bearing plants).

    Both the groups are again divided into two categories which include genera; specimen and type specimens.

  • Each record in the digital herbarium includes an image of the preserved plant specimen, scientific name, collection locality, and collection date, collector name, and barcode number.
  • The digital herbarium also includes features to extract the data State-wise, and users can search plants of their own States, which will help them identify regional plants and in building regional checklists.
  • The digital herbarium also includes features to extract the data State-wise and users can search plants of their own States which will help them to identify regional plants and in building regional checklists.
  • Significance: This is the biggest virtual database of flora in the country. Moreover, this database also has immense use in plant identification, systematics studies and ecological studies.

Major Herbaria in India

The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) has more than 30,00,000 herbarium specimens persevered in different herbaria located in different parts of the country. The major herbaria in India are:

  • The Central National Herbarium (CAL) located at Howrah, was established in 1795 and comprised about 2,000,000 (2 million) specimens. The first herbarium in the country is one of the most important Asian Herbaria.
  • Forest Research Institute, Dehradun contains 350,000 specimens.
  • The National Botanic Gardens, Lucknow contains 260,000 specimens.
  • Blatter Herbarium, St. Xavier’s College, Fort Bombay contains 200,000 specimens.
  • Botanical Survey of India has herbaria attached to their regional centres and units in different parts of India.
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