From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Herbaria
Mains level : Not Much
With details of about one lakh plant specimens, the Indian Virtual Herbarium, the biggest virtual database of flora in the country, is generating a lot of interest and turning out to be an eye-catching endeavour.
Indian Virtual Herbarium
- A herbarium specimen is consists of dried plant parts with labelled information on Scientific name and collection data.
- It has immense use in plant identification, systematics studies and ecological studies.
- The Botanical Survey of India has more than 30,00,000 herbarium specimens persevered in different herbaria located in different parts of the country.
- Developed by scientists of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), the herbarium was inaugurated by Union Minister of Environment Forest and Climate Change in Kolkata last month.
Why in news?
- Since launch, the portal ivh.bsi.gov.in has had nearly two lakh hits from 55 countries.
- The portal includes about one lakh images of herbarium specimens.
- Each record in the digital herbarium includes an image of the preserved plant specimen, scientific name, collection locality, and collection date, collector name, and barcode number.
- The digital herbarium includes features to extract the data State-wise, and users can search plants of their own States, which will help them identify regional plants and in building regional checklists.
Significance of the herbaria
- Scientists say that there are approximately three million plant specimens in the country which are with different herbaria located at zonal centres of the BSI.
- About 52% of our type specimens are from foreign nations and collected from 82 countries of the world during the British-era.
- The herbarium is also deeply linked with the botanical history of the country.
- The portal provides most valuable historical collections of botanists like William Roxburgh, Nathaniel Wallich and Joseph Dalton Hooker, considered the founding fathers of botany in India.
- The digital herbarium has some of the oldest botanical specimens dating as early as 1696.