The planting of hundreds of orchids began on the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds here on Tuesday as part of a collaboration between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, and institutions in Kerala to bring people closer to nature and create awareness about these flowering plants.
Approximately 800 orchids belonging to 11 species found in Kerala are being planted as part of the initiative. More than 50% were ‘planted’ on selected trees on the campus on Tuesday. The rest will be planted on Wednesday.
Kew Gardens has joined hands with the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), the University of Kerala (Botany Department and Centre for Biodiversity Conservation), and the Tourism Department for this initiative.
Orchids especially famed for their remarkably beautiful flowers have been chosen for the project whose key themes are conservation and well-being. Species include Cymbidium bicolor, Cymbidium aloifolium, Taprobanaea spathulata, Vanda tessellata, Vanda testacea, Vanda spathulata, Luisia zeylanica, Acampe praemorsa, Rhynchostylis retusa, and Dendrobium macrostachyum.
Many of the orchids for the project came from the collection of the JNTBGRI. Some of the others were ‘rescued’ by the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation from trees felled for construction projects.
Experts from the JNTBGRI; V. Sarasan, Ecosystem Stewardship, Kew Gardens; A. Gangaprasad, professor and director, Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (CBC), Department of Botany, University of Kerala; and former JNTBGRI director R. Prakashkumar led the orchid planting.