ANU botany professor pens a treatise on flora of Guntur

Updated - September 29, 2016 08:35 am IST

Published - February 24, 2015 04:27 pm IST - GUNTUR:

A former professor of Botany from Acharya Nagarjuna University has brought out an exhaustive treatise on the wealth of flora in Guntur City. The book, ``Flora of Guntur City Andhra Pradesh,’’ a brain child of P.R. Mohana Rao, Professor Emeritus and former HoD, Department of Botony, Acharya Nagarjuna University, is considered the only available and authentic work throwing light on the numerous species of plants and trees in the city.

Dr. Rao was assisted by Assistant Professor of Botony, ANU, S.K. Khasim and former research student Bibi Aasiya, who are the co-authors of the book published by Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh from Dehra Dun.

Dr. Rao had a rich global experience working in University of Cambridge, Delhi University, Himachal Pradesh University before settling at the ANU. He founded the Bio Technology Centre and started M.Sc (Biotechnology) course.

His association with the renowned systematic Botanist Professor late Olov Hedberg at Uppasala University, Sweden, during 1982-83 inspired him to take up the seminal work.

``The book has up-to-date information on flora which will help students, naturalists, tourists and town planners in identifying plants,’’ Professor Rammohana Rao told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The book listed 431 flowering plants, shrubs and trees belonging to 76 families of angiosperms. The families were arranged systematically following Bentham and Hooker System of Classification. The authors besides giving current nomenclature to families, genera and species, also gave original citation and a brief description of species, local names, flowering and dispersal mechanisms. A city map is also incorporated in the book.

It was late Rev.Dr.Uhl, former principal of Lutheran Mission College, Guntur who attempted a book on Flora of Guntur in 1930 but it could not be considered a complete work as Dr.Uhl had not followed any system of classification.

Dr. Rao’s work is based on three years of intensive research during 1990-1993. Leading a team consisting of Dr. Khasim, Aasiya and other students, Dr. Rao began an arduous task of collection of plants from fields, road margins, railway tracks, parks, gardens etc. Field observations included studying habit, habitat, time of flowering and fruiting.

Dr. Rao had also penned a note on the selection of plants for road margins, public parks useful to town planners. Some of the recommended trees included, Adansonia digitata (Baobab tree), Albizia lebbeck and Delonix regia (Gold Mohur) for gardens and parks etc.

``Most of the roads in the city are devoid of tree cover. Unfortunately, the city is lacking in public parks and green spaces. With the town gaining importance due to proximity to capital region, town planners could take a cue from the book on tree planting,’’ Dr. Rao added.

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