Uttarakhand's first Orchid conservation centre inaugurated in Chamoli district
DEHRADUN: In a first, Uttarakhand will have a centre exclusively dedicated for orchid species. The Orchid Centre was inaugurated on Friday in Chamoli district's Mandal. Spread over an area of around six acres, the centre is divided into conservatin and demonstration, 1.25 km-long orchid trail, interpretation centre and an orchid nursery.
Sanjiv Chaturvedi, 2002 batch Indian Forest Services officer who heads the research wing of the state forest department told The New Indian Express, "Our aim behind the establishment of orchid centre is to conserve orchid species as well as create venues for tourism and livelihood of local people. Orchid has the same place in plant kingdom as tiger has in animal kingdom. Interestingly, during the last two years in this project we discovered six new orchid species in Mandal which were not reported earlier-Liparis pygmea, new for Western Himalaya, Cephalanthera erecta var. oblanceolata Habenaria stenopetala, Neottia listeroides, Oreorchis patens, Dendrobium chrysanthum, Calanthe alpina."
At present, the centre has 70 different orchid species, which are medicinally and ecologically very important. A good number of these pecies like Lady’s Sleeper Orchid comes under threatened category.
The centre has been prepared by Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department over a period of two years.
Uttarakhand has around 250 recorded orchid species which represent terrestrial as well as epiphyte species.
Mandal valley in Chamoli district is particularly rich in orchid species, in view of high rainfall and very rich vegetation cover. It has more than 50 recorded orchid species.
However, orchids are very sensitive to ecological changes and thereby they are considered to be good indicators of health of any ecosystem.
Activities like rapid construction work, deforestation and smuggling of orchids has threatened their existence.
In Uttarakhand, epiphyte orchids are found mostly on Banjh, Aiyyarn and Toona trees.
Lopping of Banjh Oak for fodder purpose, greatly damages epiphyte orchids coming on branches of Banjh Oak.
All orchid species are protected under CITES which means that their international trade requires prior permission.
Hatha jadee, Jeevak, Riddhi, Vriddhi, Rishbhak, Salam Mishri, are some of prominent medicinal orchid species found in Uttarakhand. 04 of 08 herbs forming Ashtavarga which is basic ingredient of Chyavanprash, comes from Orchid species.
Sikkim and North Eastern State have promoted use of orchid on a big scale, for tourism purposes as well as for livelihood, as orchids having long shelf life, and because of their beauty, unusual pattern and color combination are considered very good for cut flower business.