A Floral Exhibition by NBRI

Siddhant Agarwal

Winters are a time when any garden blooms to its full glory. It is the season in which all colors of the nature can be seen all around the city. In times when concrete jungles are taking over the open spaces in the city, gardens have become a rare visual sight. Yet there are few enthusiasts that maintain and nourish gardens all around the year. National Botanical Research Institute aims to help these enthusiasts get more information and help them maintain these open spaces. It organizes various seminars, competitions and exhibitions at regular intervals to disseminate information about different methods of gardening and the various varieties of plants that can be cultivated in gardens of varied sizes.

A place of in the heart of the city with lion’s share of greenery in it demarcations CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) – is amongst one of the constituent research institutes of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi. Originally set up as the National Botanic Gardens (NBG) by the State Government of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), it was taken over by the CSIR in 1953. At the beginning the institute was engaged in research in the classical botanical disciplines, the National Botanic Gardens went on laying an increasing emphasis, in keeping with the national needs and priorities in the field of plant sciences, on its applied and developmental research activities. A time came when it was felt that the name National Botanic Gardens no longer projected the correct nature and extent of its aims and objectives, functions and Research & Development activities. Consequently, the NBG was renamed as the NBRI, i.e., The National Botanical Research Institute in 1978. This name since then has been correctly reflecting the distinctive character and the Research & Development activities of this applied botanical institution only of its type in the country.

The aims and objectives of the Institute are pursued through various projects that are distributed among the following five broad areas of Research and Technology, supported by Science and Technology support services for their respective activities:

  1. Botanic Garden and Distant  Research Centers
  2. Plant Diversity, Systematics and Herbarium
  3. Plant Ecology & Environmental Sciences
  4. Genetics and Molecular Biology
  5. Plant Microbe Interaction & Pharmacognosy
  6. S&T Support Services

Other works that are undertaken by the institute include:

  • Basic and applied research on plant diversity and prospection, plant-environment interaction and biotechnological approaches for plant improvement.
  • Development of technologies for new plant and microbial sources of commercial importance.
  • Building up germplasm repository of plants of indigenous and exotic origin, including rare, endangered and threatened species.
  • Providing expertise and assistance for identification, supply and exchange of plants and prop gules, garden layout and landscaping.
  • Dissemination of scientific knowledge and technologies on plants and microbial resources through publications, training, capacity building and extension activities.

Every year NBRI organizes a flower exhibition show in winters to promote and exhibit colors of life through flowers and plants. Adhering to the tradition, this year a two-day Chrysanthemum & Coleus- 2015 show was organized by National Botanical Research Institute at the Central Lawn of CSIR. The aim for organizing the flower show was to elevate floriculture industry and to develop awareness about floriculture and the techniques of maintaining these plants. This exhibition provided an opportunity for public to enjoy and to develop some knowledge on Chrysanthemum and Coleus. It is a rare occasion where people can see and observe the diversity of colours, types, shapes and also their cultivation practices of different flowers.

A total 74 of exhibitor’s participated in the show this year. A total 590 entries were been received this year. CSIR- NBRI maintains more than 225 germplasm collections of Chrysanthemum comprising almost all colors and types. The various Research and Development activities on Chrysanthemum & Coleus undertaken by CSIR- NBRI were displayed and also explained to the people. New varieties developed through different traditional and modern methods were displayed.

Scientists also described how Chrysanthemum flowers can be commercially exploited by programmed blooming. Public got a special opportunity to interact with the scientists of NBRI who are working on Chrysanthemum and got first-hand information on agro technology, techno-economics, commercial cut flower varieties and many other cultivation practices. In this show Pitcher Plant (Insect eating) and ‘Sanjeevani Plant’ commonly called Lakshman Booti was also been displayed.

On this occasion, a new variety of Chrysanthemum christened as ‘NBRI- Peetabh’ was released by Dr. C. S. Nautiyal, Director of the National Botanical Research Institute. Uniqueness of the variety is that its flower head is unusual large in semi- cup shape having unique semi- quilled ray florets with extra long basal tube. Attractive structural set- up and colour combination with purple stripes at the center and light purple margins of the ray florets. The variety is suitable as decorative pot plants for ornamental use.

Shri Amit Mohan Prasad, IAS, Principal Secretary (Agriculture), Govt. of UP was the Chief Guest and Dr. Mukesh Gautam, Director, Rajya Krishi Prabandh Sansthan, U. P was the Guest of Honor of the prize distribution function and given away prizes to the winners.

During this Flower show following activities of the institute were also showcased:

Display of well identified and selected Chrysanthemum germplasm viz. large flowered, small flowered and collection of mini Chrysanthemum for the individuals, nurserymen, gardeners, farmers, as well as the floriculturists.

A ‘Calendar of Cultural Operations’ for small and large flowered Chrysanthemum varieties was displayed with the help of poster presentation. Month wise operations along with intercultural practices were also highlighted.

Chrysanthemum varieties developed by CSIR- NBRI was displayed.

Coleus germplasm of eight types viz; Light centered, fringed, mammoth, irregular leaved, basket, narrow leaved and speckled were displayed.

Various R&D activities on Chrysanthemum & Coleus, undertaken by CSIR- NBRI were on display.

The exhibitors were evaluated and winners were adjudged by the judging panel. The following were awarded in different categories:

  1. King of the Show- “Doridge Queen White” Ranjit Singh Memorial Trophy- for a specimen pot of large flowered Chrysanthemum with single paint bearing single bloom- Main office, 11GRRC, Kranti Line, Cantonment, Lucknow.
  2. Queen of the show- “Single Korean” Smt. Ranjit Singh Memorial Trophy- for a specimen pot of small- flowered Chrysanthemum- La Martiniere Boy’s College, Kalidas Marg, Lucknow
  3. Prince of the show- “Royal Prince Spider” Qazi Syed Memorial Hasan running challenge trophy- for a
    specimen pot of spider bearing single bloom- Eng. Jata Shankar, Vrindavan Yojana, Raebareli Road, Lucknow.
  4. Best Specimen Coleus Smt. Kumud Rastogi Memorial Running Challenge Trophy- for the specimen Coleus pot plant of the show- Head Quarters, Central Command, Cantonment, Lucknow.

A budding engineer, the writer loves to spend time penning down his thoughts and reading books

(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 2 Issue 22, Dated 05 January 2016)

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