India’s first cryptogamic garden was inaugurated in Deoban area of the Dehradun district in Uttarakhand on Sunday.
The garden is situated at an altitude of 9000 feet and is spread over an area of three acres. It has around 50 different species of cryptograms. Cryptograms are those primitive plants that do not propagate through seeds and includes Algae, Mosses, Fern, Fungi and Lichens.
In an official statement, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Indian Forest Service (IFS), Chief Conservator of Forests (Research), said, “It is India’s first cryptogamic garden, established in view of the ecological importance of these species and to create awareness among the public about these important group of plants.”
Cryptograms are lower plants which exist on earth since the Jurassic era. These plants are good bio-indicators as species like Lichens do not come up in pollution infected areas. These species have tremendous economic value also as many lichens are used as spices in some famous culinary items like Hyderabadi Biryani and Galouti Kebab to add flavour.
Similarly, many algae species are a good source of various nutrients and also many edible mushrooms. Many species of moss have good anti-fungal properties, many lichen species are used as medicines by local people and many fern species are used to filter heavy metals.
“Deoban is chosen for this project as it is a good natural habitat of these group of plants, being free from pollution and also providing appropriate moisture conditions for these plants,” Chaturvedi said.