During the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 91st edition of monthly radio broadcast programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, he had shared the India’s effort in the field of varied medicinal plants and herbs.He highlighted the India’s largest online herbarium database, the “Indian Virtual Herbarium” web portal, was launched on July 1, 2022 by Union Minister Bhupender Yadav of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) developed the Indian Virtual Herbarium portal (https: //ivh.bsi.gov.in) as part of the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” and “Digital India” initiatives.
To provide comprehensive data on herbarium specimens regarding the floral diversity of India and other countries that are preserved in the cabinet of the herbarium building through online access.
It will also help research studies and provide valuable information for global plant research.
Indian Virtual Herbarium: A Digital Platform to Connect with Our Roots
- The BST’s digital herbarium currently comprises 4 categories: Cryptogam type specimens, Cryptogams general specimens, Phanerogam type specimens, and Phanerogams general specimens.
- About 1 lakh herbarium specimen images with metadata, including all digitized images of type specimens, Wallich specimens, orchid specimens, and other specimens, are available on the portal.
- This database is India’s greatest repository of plant diversity information, and it can benefit taxonomists, naturalists, ecologists, molecular biologists, amateur botanists, and others.
- The MoEFCC will eventually incorporate specimens from university herbaria and other institutions’ herbariums in order to consolidate all of India’s herbarium data onto a single platform.
Note: Herbaria are usually affiliated with universities, museums, or botanical gardens.
What Are Herbarium Specimens?
‘A herbarium (Latin: hortus siccus) is a collection of plant samples and data that have been preserved for long-term study.
These materials, which are collectively referred to as “herbarium specimens,” may comprise pressed and mounted plants, seeds, dry fruits, wood sections, pollen, microscope slides, silica-stored materials, frozen DNA extractions, and fluid-preserved flowers or fruits.
The herbarium is essential for plant identification, systematics studies, and ecological studies.
Major Herbaria in India
More than 30,000 herbarium specimens from various herbaria across India are preserved by the BSI
The Central National Herbarium (CAL), in Howrah (West Bengal), founded in 1795. It houses around 2,000,000 (2 million) specimens.
It is India’s first herbarium and one of the most prominent Asian herbaria.
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