A herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens

The Andhra Loyola College (ALC) Botany Department has acquired yet another feather in its cap with its digital herbarium. Work is in progress with support from the faculty, students and the management.

Currently they have digitalised most of the 5,000 herbarium specimens in the department and put them on its website. A herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens. The specimens are whole plants or plant parts that have been dried and mounted on a sheet. These sheets were scanned on a computer for saving in the digital form.

Botany Department Head B Siva Kumari talking to The Hindu said that the ‘painstaking’ digitalisation of herbarium specimens, some of which were as old as 60 years, was the first such endeavour by an institution in Andhra Pradesh.

The herbal garden of ALC was already listed as one of the important herbal gardens in the Indian Government website developed jointly by ICAR, National Medicinal Plants Board and the Directorate of the Medical Aromatic Plant Research.

The herbarium of the Botany department has a collection of 5,000 plant specimens comprising 800 species of Angiosperms and lower plants representing the flora from different parts of the country.

“The specimens have been correctly identified, named, positioned, mounted and arranged according to the Benthem and Hooker system of classification. The specimens are now available to scientists and students of Botany, Conservative Biology, Ayurveda, Agriculture and allied disciplines. Specimens of most of the flora found in and around Vijayawada city are available in the digital herbarium,” Ms. Siva Kumari said.

She said that some of herbarium specimens which were six decades old have been digitalised so that students and research scholars could access information about each specimen, the location it was collected, the collector’s name and botanical name of the plant at the click of the mouse.

The web address of the digital herbarium is http://alcdigitalherbarium.co.in. AYUSH Commissioner K.P. Srivasuki the chief guest of the two-day national conference on ‘Modern Approaches to the conservation of medicinal plants’ inaugurated the website. eom

More In: Vijayawada