Thiruvananthapuram

Butterfly garden to stay put at Kanakakkunnu

The butterfly park set up at Kanakakkunnu as part of “Vasanthotsavam” in the city.

The butterfly park set up at Kanakakkunnu as part of “Vasanthotsavam” in the city.   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

Vasanthotsavam will come to an end in a week, but what will remain on the Kanakakkunnu Palace premises is a butterfly garden set up by the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) , Peechi.

The butterfly garden has 34 types of plants at present. More will be added by the KFRI over time. T.V. Sajeev, head of the Entomology Department at the KFRI, said all the plants had been grown in soil, and not pots. “The garden is here to stay, and it will slowly evolve into a good one,” he said.

The garden here was also significant in that no toxic materials had been used on the plants to attract butterflies, unlike in most gardens where chemicals and pesticides were used to make the flower bloom. Such toxic-free spaces could also be created in school, colleges, and homes, he pointed out. The butterfly garden was also an indicator of the health of one’s surroundings, he said.

More butterflies

“If you have a lot of butterflies around, it indicates the eco-friendly environment one is living in,” he said. The plants in the garden included larval host plants, essential for butterfly larvae to feed on, and nectar plants that they need when they are adults.

“Most gardens have nectar plants as people like flowers, but larval plants are not seen. Without these, larvae cannot grow into butterflies.” The KFRI, he said, had a nursery which produced a large number of larval host plants for distribution among the people. Open garden such as the one at Kanakakkunnu helped in improving the ecosystem around as the butterflies helped in pollination of plants, increasing floral richness. Garudakodi, a plant on which Southern birdwing, the largest butterfly in India, feeds on will be among the plants to be planted in the garden, Mr. Sajeev said. Visitors to Kanakakkunnu, he said, could keep note of the increase in butterflies visiting the garden and their varieties. KFRI Director S. Pradeepkumar said the institute had launched steps to establish such butterfly gardens in other parts of the State and the country.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:05:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/butterfly-garden-to-stay-put-at-kanakakkunnu/article22402196.ece

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