Calicut University herbarium becomes a NBA-recognised national repository

The facility, the 18th designated repository in the country, has preserved over a lakh angiosperm specimens

Updated - February 17, 2024 08:03 pm IST

Published - February 17, 2024 08:02 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Preserved specimens of plant species in the herbarium in Calicut University.

Preserved specimens of plant species in the herbarium in Calicut University.

Kerala has got its first national repository under the Biological Diversity Act.

The herbarium that functions at the Department of Botany in Calicut University has been elevated to the status by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). The facility is home to 1,07,050 preserved specimens and 100 type specimens of angiosperms including endangered species.

The facility, established in 1968, is the 18th designated repository to be notified under Section 39 of the Biological Diversity Act and included in the nationwide network of institutions that preserve the germplasms of biological resources.

Launched

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Eco-Development and Tribal Welfare) J. Justin Mohan formally launched the repository in the presence of university Registrar E.K. Satheesh and the head of the Botany department C.C. Harilal on Saturday.

Incidentally, the proposal for declaring the herbarium as a national repository had been submitted to the NBA when Mr. Mohan had officiated as its secretary.

One among the 45 herbaria in the country to be recognised by the New York-based Index Herbariorum, the herbarium has been curated by A.K. Pradeep, an expert in angiosperm taxonomy and floristics, since 1995.

It holds a vast set of specimens from biodiversity hotspots including Silent Valley National Park and Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve. It also possesses several specimens of pteridophytes from south India, bryophytes from Kerala, and the complete set of voucher specimens used for the interpretation of Hortus Malabaricus, a 17th-century Latin botanical treatise documenting the varieties of the flora of the Malabar coast by Hendrik van Rheede, the then Dutch governor of Malabar.

Custodian

Under the Biological Diversity Act, the designated repositories will act as the custodian of all of the deposited biological resources, including the voucher specimens, that will be preserved under mandated storage conditions. The resources will be made available for research and academic purposes within the country, Mr. Mohan said.

He added the notification of the herbarium as a repository will help enhance the germplasm collection of the repository. Such repositories are entitled for funding by the NBA and the State Biodiversity Boards from the access and benefit-sharing funds, mobilised from users of biological resources.

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