Botanical expert Vijay Thiruvady on Monday said the Lal Bagh botanical gardens might not be able to withstand the pressure of increase in volume of visitors if the proposals for improving facilities in the gardens come through.

Mr. Thiruvady was speaking on the diversity and history of some of the city's flora at the National Institute of Advanced Studies here. The improvement plans will also bring in food courts.

“People don't care about parks anymore,” he said as he mentioned the packs of stray dogs that would invariably follow the setting up of food courts. “The Lal Bagh would be trampled underfoot,” he said.

During his talk, Mr. Thiruvady, who is also a trustee of Bangalore Environmental Trust that conducts green heritage walks in the city, touched upon the origins of Bangalore's rich horticultural diversity. The city, which till almost 200 years ago had been a barren plateau, owes much of its flora to Hyder Ali and the British.

Both imported plants from all over the world, especially Africa and China, creating a unique mix of both indigenous and exotic plants to populate their lavish gardens.

One of those gardens was Lal Bagh created by Hyder Ali in the form of a traditional Islamic garden in 1760. Lal Bagh gardens, which contains specimens from as far away as Japan and Africa, became one of the most lavish and beautiful gardens in the world, so much so that it was one of the reasons for colonial interest in the region, he said.

But Mr. Thiruvady is not overly optimistic about the future of the “extraordinary mix of indigenous and exotic” flora in the city.

For example, the Tamarind tree, which was originally a Sudanese tree, as well as the Japanese Cherry Blossom have become endemic not only in Bangalore, but across the State, he said.

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