Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Uttarakhand inaugurates North India’s first Orchid Conservation center

North India’s first orchid conservation center was inaugurated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, in a milestone step towards the conservation of Orchids, an exquisite, yet threatened plant species, on 30th July (Friday).

About Orchids:

Orchids are a flowering plant species, found in abundance in tropical regions, all over the world.

Its traces can be found in the Himalayan foothills, in the Indian state of Uttrakhand, and in parts of the northeast.

  • Etymology:

The resplendent Orchid flower derives its name from the Greek word (orchis) because of the characteristic features of the root tubers found in some species of the genus Orchis.

  • Distinct features:

These nonwoody perennial plants are generally terrestrial or epiphytic herbs (i.e., growing on other plants rather than rooted in soil).

It is known for its vibrant hues, distinctive patterns, and shape. However, the Orchid flower varies in its fragrance. While some species don’t have fragrances, some have a very strong scent, which might be putrid or pleasant.

The flower also has a longer shelf life as compared to its other counterparts in the floriculture industry like roses, lilies, hibiscus, marigold, etc.

  • Species:The Orchid family is one of the most flourished plant families in the plant kingdom, on Earth. It comprises over 27,000 different species, which represent about 10% of all plants.

    The state of Uttarakhand alone has around 250 recorded orchid species which represent terrestrial as well as epiphyte species. The Mandal valley in Chamoli district is particularly rich in orchid species, in view of high rainfall and very rich vegetative cover. It has more than 50 recorded orchid species.

  • Indicator plant species: 

The Orchid plant is delicate to ecological changes, thus, an adept indicator of the health of an ecosystem. It has the same significance in the plant kingdom, as Tiger has in the animal kingdom.

  • Threats:

Today, most of the orchid species find their place in the red list of endangered plant species. It is as a result of mindless human activities like:

– rapid construction
– deforestation &
– smuggling

To prevent the illegal smuggling of the orchids, all its species are protected under CITES, which means that their international trade requires prior permission.

About the Orchid Conservation center:

The Orchid Conservation center is a one-of- its kind initiative for the conservation of diverse varieties of orchids.

The conservation center inaugurated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is the first such center, not just in the mountain-state of Uttarakhand, but the whole of North India.

Spread over an area of around six acres, it is roughly divided into four parts including:

– Demonstration area
– 1.25 km long orchid trail
– Interpretation center &
– Nursery

The newly inaugurated center in Uttarakhand has around 70 different species of orchid, most of which are medicinally and ecologically important.

The conservation center is also all set to house six newly discovered species of Orchids, namely Liparis Pygmea, Cephalanthera Erecta. Oblanceolate Habenaria Stenopetala, Neottia Listeroides, Oreorchis patens, Dendrobium Chrysanthemum and Calanthe Alpina.

Objective:

The main objective behind the establishment of the orchid center is to conserve orchid species, as well as create venues for tourism and livelihood for local people, said Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Chief Conservator of Forest Research.

To boost economy:

The Orchid plant is a truly magical plant with its manifold utility. The plant is a big boon for humanity and can significantly contribute to the economy.

  • Floriculture:

Leaving the majestic, vivid, and sweetly scented roses behind, the Orchids have ruled the floriculture market, like a king.

The fame and demand of Orchids, especially the blue ones is huge. In bouquets or in large gatherings, it is the very first choice of most.
It is because of their beauty, unusual patterns, and color combinations, that orchids are considered very good for the cut flower business.

  • Medicinal properties:

Some of the prominent medicinal species of Orchids found in Uttarakhand are- Hatha jadee, Jeevak, Riddhi, Vriddhi, Rishbhak, Salam Mishri.
Apart from reducing stress, with their color and splendor, Orchids are known for their multiple health benefits like:

– Beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease & heart diseases
– Good for bones
– Anti-oxidant rich
– Good for digestion
– Good for skin health

  • Boost to Tourism in North East & Uttarakhand:

Sikkim and the other North Eastern States have promoted the use of orchids on a large scale, for tourism purposes as well as for livelihood, as the plants have a long shelf life.

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