Trees to get nameplates at Byculla botanical garden

Nov 16, 2011, 07:21 IST | Urvashi Seth

Zoo authorities plan to display signboards with taxonomical details of trees and shrubs -- name, species, class, life history etc -- to enhance the awareness of nature enthusiasts

Have you ever tried to tell the species of a tree by the shape of its leaves or the colour of its bark, but found yourself botanically challenged?

Those of you who have been starved for information on plant biodiversity will now find a stroll through the Botanical Garden at Byculla zoo edifying, as zoo authorities plan to pin identification plaques on trees and shrubs that detail their taxonomy.

City's green lung: Taxonomists found 843 different species of shrubs
and 285 species of trees at the Byculla zoo and garden. file pic

Rewarding experience
Officials at the zoo, also known as Jijamata Udyan, have already embarked on the task of displaying signboards on indigenous plants, detailing their botanical name, common name and life history to make the experience for tree lovers more rewarding.
Acting on a report submitted by noted botanical expert Dr Marselin Almeida, the zoo management recently numbered the old and historical trees.

Using a GPS system, Almeida and his team of taxonomists mapped the biodiversity of the 54-acre garden for five months, which resulted in a catalogue of 3,213 trees, belonging to 57 families and 285 species. While 30 trees were listed as rare plant species, 87 were termed rare local, and 39 very rare.

"The mapping helped us identify rare trees of botanical importance. Contrariwise, if nameplates are visible to visitors, they will know the value of these old and rare species that isn't displayed anywhere in India," said Almeida, who also plans to introduce a detailed booklet that will help educate visitors to the zoo.
Moreover, for the first time, a Census was conducted on the herbs and shrubs in the park, which found that 843 different species exist in the city's green lung.

Anil Ajankar, director, Byculla zoo, said, "After receiving a detailed report submitted by the experts we have
numbered all the trees and will soon place a nameplate on each tree describing its historical and botanical importance. In addition, the signboard will also describe the tree's medicinal value."

Did you know?
The Central Zoo Authority dismissed the BMC's R480-crore revamp plan of the Grade II B botanical garden in May and issued a set of guidelines, mandating that the 150-year-old botanical garden's trees be left intact.

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