A Bank Of Medicinal Plants, Palms, And Orchids

By TheHindu on 19 Jun 2015

The Pilikula Nisargadhama in Mangalore has a bank of medicinal plants, palms, and orchids at its biodiversity park. It has 120 varieties of medicinal plants, many of them found in the Western Ghats and in coastal belt, said Uday Kumar Shetty, Medicinal Plants Supervisor. Of them, eight plants are endangered, which are saraca asoka (‘kaggali'), durvasane maraa (Mappia foetida), Commiphora (‘guggul'), Aristolchia indica, Ministrica malbaric, and Artocarpus hirsuta, he told The Hindu .

The medicinal plants include thimmare (sentela asiatica), turmeric (haladi), acorus calamus (baje), Ixora coccinea ('kemp kepla' in Kannada), tincture plant, cynodon dactylon ('garike'), spilanthes calva ('hommugalu'), aloe vera ('kumari'), moringa olifera (drumstick), and ensete superbum ('kallu baale'). The other plants are zizyphus rugosa (‘kotte mullul'), alangium salvifolium ('ankole'), saraca ashoka (‘kaggali'), and three varieties of ‘thulasi' (‘sri', ‘krishna', and ‘karpoora').

Other than the medicinal plants bank, the botanical gardens have Garcinia indica (kokum), lemongrass, galangal, and two varieties of Calatropis gigantica ('ekka'), in white and violet. The paths through the gardens were bordered with Chrysopogon zizanioides ('lavancha' or vetiver), he said.

One plant that was interesting to view was Cochlospermum religiosum (‘haladi boorga'). Mr. Shetty said that the plant attracted both snakes (harmless) and bees. Sure enough, there was a small, thin snake slipping through its branches. The plant has large, showy, bright yellow flowers, and lemon-sized maroon fruits.

Four water bodies have been introduced into the green space in the past one year, which has led to water-based plants and animals growing there, including ‘brahmi' (Bacopa monnieri), which is growing in water and outside of it. This is in addition to small rain-harvesting pits.

As part of the National Horticulture Mission Floriculture Project 2007-08, the greenhouse has 150 plants. The collection includes “durvasane maraa” (Mappia foetida), Tinospora cordifolia ('amruthaballi'), Randia uliginosa ('kaggare'), Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), Leptadenia reticulata (jeevanti) and Trichopus zeylanicus travancoricus ('arogyapacha').

There is a collection of 25 palms, all belonging to arecaceae family, he said.

To attract people and get them to know more about plants that were part of sacred groves, the garden has arranged plants in various arrangements. “Navagraha” has plants kept in a grid of nine boxes, “Nakshatra” has 27 plants kept in a star formation, “Rashi” has 12 plants while “Ashtadikpalaka” has eight plants. These include mango, jackfruit, Butea monosperma ('palash'), red sandalwood, and rosewood, said Mr Shetty.