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| Last Updated:: 18/03/2015

City gets South India’s first genetic garden

 Salubrious Bengaluru is now home to South India's first-ever Genetic Garden. The unique garden, set up exclusively to safeguard the gene pool of rare species of flora that are endemic to the Western Ghats, has come up on a sprawling five-acre land on the campus of University of Horticulture Sciences' inside Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK), off Bellary Road.

Initially costing about Rs 15 lakh, a total of 60 species of rare fruits, 30 species of roots and tubers and 165 species of medicinal plants have been identified and planted across the five-acre plot.

Set up and maintained by Rome-based Bioversity International, the Genetic Garden will conserve native species of medicinal plants, tubers and roots which are relatively unknown to people and propagate them in large numbers for commercial distribution among the farming community of Karnataka.


Sources in the University of Horticulture told Bangalore Mirror the main objective of the garden is to conserve the "gene bank of rare species of our soil, hitherto less exploited commercially despite their scientific value".

Dr SB Dandin, liaison officer, Genetic Garden, said, "The samples of species will either be picked from forests by experts or collected from farmers and brought to the garden for further propagation. Making use of experts' services at the Horticulture University, the species will be multiplied in large numbers using tissue culture and other techniques to raise them at the garden. Later, they will be distributed among farmers free of cost. Our objective is to preserve these rare species for future progeny."

The Genetic Park was inaugurated on Saturday by planting several lesser-known species endemic to both Western and Eastern Ghats by Dr S Ayyappan, director-general of Indian Council for Agricultural research; M Ann Tutwiler, director-general, Bioversity International; and Dr DL Maheswar, vice-chancellor, Horticulture University, Bagalkot.

The park is being designed as a one-stop destination for botanical and biodiversity students and researchers.

"Students of horticulture can visit the park to identify and study the features of rare species," Dandin explained. "Although Karnataka has a major part of Western Ghats, several species are still unknown. The garden would jointly document these species with the help of local people and maintain a repository of such species. Besides students, farmers and tribal folks from forest areas will also be trained in identifying, growing and using of these rare species."

The garden was originally planned to be set up in Tamil Nadu, but subsequently it was decided to be set up in Bengaluru for its salubrious climate. "Bengaluru not only has both tropical and sub-tropical climatic conditions but is also a key location, geographically, in the entire South India. GKVK's close proximity to the international airport and a huge fraternity of botanical experts is an added advantage. Hence, the park was set up in Bengaluru," Dr Dandin said.


Botanical Name - Common Name

Garcinia indica: Choisy Kokum butter tree

Syzigium jambos: Rose apple

Artocarpus lakoocha Lamk: Monkey Jack

Buchananaia lanzan Spreng : Cuddapah almond

Gardenia gummifera L Gummy: Cape jasmine

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius: Elephant foot yam

Colocasia Stoloniferum: Swamp taro