Jyostna Devi is
an Associate Professor at the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology
in the Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, India. She has written
4 chapters in books on orchids and has 30 research publications.
She presented a lecture at the 12th EOC held at Copenhagen. Presently
she is carrying out a Research Project on development of post
harvest technology in orchids and other flowers.
ON: Which is your
JD: I studied M.Sc (Agri) in the subject Plant
Breeding and Genetics and did Ph. D. in tissue culture of orchids. Now
I work as Associate Professor in the Assam Agricultural University,
ON: Could you tell a little about your country?
JD: India is a land of the mighty Himalayas, the
mystic rivers, the sunny beaches, the unique flora and fauna, the golden
sunrise and sunset. From breathtaking hill stations to ancient monuments,
sacred pilgrimages to the Tajmahal, India has it all. There is unity
among diversity along with diverse cultural heritage, myriad languages,
customs and attires. It is a vast country measuring 3214 km from north
to south and 2933 km from east to west with a total land area of 3287263
ON: And what about the geographical regions and climate of India?
JD: India is blessed with diverse ecogeographical
region and varied climatic conditions, which are condusive for the growth
of orchids. The mainland comprises of 7 physiographic regions i.e. i)
Mountain ranges including Himalayas, ii) Indogangetic plain, iii) the
desert, iv) Central Peninsular plateau, v) east coast, vi) west coast
and vii) bordering seas and islands.
Due to vastness, climatic conditions are varied. India has mainly 3
seasons a year – rainy (June-November), summer (April-July) and
winter (mid October-February).
Majority of the orchids are confined to mountains where they are distributed
from base to an elevation of 4300m in climates ranging from tropical
to temperate. Orchids contribute 9 % of the flowering plants in India.
ON: Which are the genera growing in India?
JD: About 1200 orchid species belonging to 165
genera have been reported from India. Genera like Acampe, Acanthephippium,
Aerides, Agrostophyllum, Arundina, Bulbophyllum, Calanthe, Cleisostoma,
Cypripedium, Coelogyne, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Eria, Goodyera, Liparis,
Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum, Renanthera, Rhynchostylis, Vanda, Habenaria,
Pleione, Phaius, Pholidota are growing in India.
ON: Most of them are terrestrial or epiphyte?
JD: Majority of Indian orchids are epiphytes found
perched on tree trunks.
ON: Which are the most important genera? Which are the endemic species?
JD: The most important genera are Dendrobium,
Rhynchostylis, Cymbidium, Coelogyne, Vanda, Aerides, Paphiopedilum,
Arundina, Renanthera etc.
More than 150 species are in danger of becoming extinct while some others
like Calanthe pachystalix, C. whiteana, Coelogyne abolutea, C. assamica
and Phaphiopedilum charlesworthii have already become so.
Some of the rare species are Anocetochilus crispus, Bulbophyllum
leopardinum, B. lobbii, Calanthe alpina, Dendrobium crystallinum, Paphiopedilum
fairrieanum, Vanda coerulea etc.
ON: In your lecture you talked about Dendrobium. How many species do
JD: I have 16 species of Dendrobium.
ON: What type of species (cold region or hot region) is found in India?
JD: Both tropical and subtropical orchids are
found in India.
ON: Which is the biggest danger for the orchids in India?
JD: Unscrupulous collection from the forest is
one reason for depletion of orchids. Shifting cultivation, forest fires,
random clearance of forests are responsible for disappearance of orchid
ON: Do you have a kind of government help for the conservation?
JD: Awareness has been created for preserving
our native species. Deforestation is being checked. Government has emphasized
in situ conservation by creating National Parks, Sanctuaries,
Biosphere reserves etc. Ex situ conservation has been taken up
for the rare and endangered species
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