Friday, 16 December 2016

DST Calls for Internship in Intellectual Property Rights Under Woman Scientists Scheme-C

Women Scientist Scheme, is a flagship programme of Department of Science & Technology (DST) under KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research advancement through Nurturing). Through one of its components- ‘Women Scientist Scheme-C (WOS-C)’- it provides employment opportunity to women scientists having break in their career through management of Intellectual Property Rights. Patent Facilitating Centre (PFC) of Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has been entrusted with implementation of WOS-C. It encompasses training of women, having qualifications in science/engineering/medicine or allied areas, in the field of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and their management, for a period of one year and eventually develops a pool of women geared to create, protect and manage intellectual property in India. These trained women can start their own venture after clearing patent agent exam or may work in law firms, scientific organizations, etc.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Botanists from Andhra Pradesh reports a new species Brachystelma nigidianum of apocynaceae

Brachystelama nigidianum (habit)
Botanists from Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangaluru and Department of Botany, Sri Krishanadevaraya University, Andhra Pradesh reported a new species Brachystelma nigidianum from the Nigidi forest near Kadiri, Anantapuramu district of Andhra Pradesh State of India. The reported species is  similar to B. beddomei Hook. f. and B. volubile Hook. f., in its climbing habit and leaf shape, but can be distinguished from these two species by the length of its calyx (9–10 mm long), distinct urceolate-shaped corolla tube, reddish maroon corona and apically connate follicles.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Indian Botanists announces 'Book Review Series' of Non -Text Book Related to Plants.

If you have recently read any book related to Plants, Environment, Agriculture, Climate Change, Food Security, Medicinal Plants and Herbs or any interdisciplinary area thereof and is Non-Text Book, you are encouraged to write a review of the same. Your review will be published on

Please send your confirmation through our e-mail id:
Last date to submit complete review is 31st December 2016.
General Guidelines

Saturday, 4 June 2016

UGC has announced post-doctoral fellowship for women. The last date of application is 30.06.2016.

The fellowship is for unemployed women candidates holding Ph.D. degree in their respective subject areas with an aim to accelerate the talented instincts of the women candidates to carry out the advanced studies and research.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) Herbarium is Online Now

Dhirendra Kumar
News Curator cum Moderator
Indian Botanists
Union Minister for Science & Technology & Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, launched the "CSIR-NBRI Herbarium Online" on the CSIR-NBRI website (, thus making One Hundred Thousand Herbarium collections accessible worldwide. He also released a flyer "CSIR-NBRI HERBARIUM ONLINE" on the occasion.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Union Cabinet, Government of India, Approves Signing the Paris Agreement adopted at COP 21

Dhirendra Kumar
News Curator cum Moderator
Indian Botanists

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today gave its approval for signing the Paris Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties held in Paris in December 2015.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, will sign the agreement on behalf of India on 22 April 2016 at the high level signature ceremony convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The Mimetic Peculiarities of the Plant World

Megha Panpalia Machhar
Banasthali Vidyapith, Tonk, Rajsthan

Both, plants and animals, have in one way or the other embarked on mimetic phenomenon as a means to thrive well in this dynamic and ever challenging environmental surroundings.

The plant kingdom is overwhelmed with number of genus and species. The plants are well-known for their adaptive strategies to subsist in the natural territory.One such stratagem is the mimicking act of the plants to shield themselves from herbivory ,to enhance their survival rate and in some cases for pollen dissemination. For instance many species of orchids are known to imitate the bees or appear as tongue, some plants appear as stone, still others appear as bird droppings or diseased.

An early hint of this deceptive act of the plants was given by German naturalist Christian K. Sprengel in 1793. Although a less observed phenomenon, mimicry in plants is a consequence of evolution through natural selection and random mutations that are beneficial and are passed onto generations after generations, thus, conferring them with survival advantage.

Some of the well-known examples of deception and trickery in plants are stated below.

Ophrys apifera 
Orchids present the best examples of plant mimicry. One such orchid is Ophrys apifera, which resembles like a bee, hence commonly known as Bee Orchid. Native to Europe, the whole flower mimics as an insect feeding on flower. This traitorous species tricks the male bees by appearing to them as their female counterparts, as a result, the male bees try to copulate with the latter, furthering the dissemination of the orchid pollen.

If you happen to walk down the wide areas of South Africa and Namibia you chance to see interesting pebbles which are, in fact, small succulent plants Lithops , member of the plant family Aizoaceae. They protect themselves from being eaten up by looking similar to a stone. They are well adapted to sandy soil , water scarcity and soaring mercury levels.

These herbaceous flowering plants of the family Lamiaceae are natives of Europe, Asia and North Africa.They are known to exhibit Batesian mimicry to the stinging nettles, thus, protect themselves from predators by growing in proximity to their dopplegangers. Unlike stinging nettles the dead nettles donot bear any stinging hair and are, therefore, harmless.

Orchids are one of the enthralling plant species we have come across. These are, in fact, most deceptive species in the floral kingdom. Another one in the Que is the Cryptostylis , commonly known as the tongue orchid. These mimic the female counterparts of the Ichneumon wasp (commonly known as orchid dupe wasp- Lissopimpla excelsa). The male wasps are deceived by these beautiful tongue orchids, who sexually go down and try to copulate with them.

The Passiflora is comprised of nearly 400 species of tendril-bearing herbaceous vine, commonly known as passion flowers. They hold a special interest among the botanists in context to their relationship with Heliconiine butterflies. These butterflies have co-evolved with these flowers. The butterflies have known to lay their eggs on the Passiflora leaves. Eggs when hatch into healthy larvae feed glutanously on the leaves, thereby, damaging them. The vine in response bear bright yellow spots that mimic the distinctive brightly coloured eggs of the butterflies. As a result, the butterflies do not lay eggs on such leaves fearing competition for their off-springs.

Commonly known as the Sundews, these are the largest genera of Carnivorous plants. The leaf surface mimics tiny water droplets that appear as sundew but are, in fact, mucilaginous glands. As a result, insects often fall prey to this deception to fulfill their poor mineral requirements.

Ophrys insectifera
It is one of the most enchanting and bewitching orchid species, known as the fly orchid. These flowers perfectly imitate the female counterparts of the insects and also secrete sex pheromones. As a consequence, attract the male insects who attempt for copulation but end in pollen dissemination.

Caladium steudneriifolium
Although plants do not have a brain but they are smart none the less and Caladium steudneriifolium is a perfect example of this. In order to protect itself from herbivory and avoid ovi posting moths they have their leaves appear as variegated and diseased. As a result, moths and caterpillars donot turn to these unhealthy plants for any of their purpose.

Stapelia asterias
On crossing the South African deserts one may come across some left-over pieces of flesh, pecularity being their star-shaped; these star-shaped chunks are ,in fact, cactus-like mat forming succulent plants. These succulents have a putrid stench similar to that of rotten meat, attracting insects and flies that aid in dispersal of their pollen grains.

Aviona papyracea
Another native of South Africa, it is dwarf perennial herb. Its tiny green leaves are covered with white papery stipules. From a distance they appear as bird droppings while on the other hand their closer view gives them snake-like appearances, owing to their white scaly stipules. It is their typical yet unique appearance which protects them from herbivory.

The above description surely makes us go down with enthralling characteristics of the plant kingdom. These are some of the discovered examples. There may be many more other engaging phenomenon and still new species and plants yet to be discovered which would surely take our breaths away.

I would like to sum up my article with a beautiful quote by George Washington Carver:

"I love to think Nature as an unlimiting broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in".


1. Mimicry in Plants, Spencer C.H.Barrett, Scientific American, Volume 255, number 09, September 1987.

2. Royal Botanic Gardens.


4. First Nature.

5. The Encyclopedia of Succulents.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Adopt Cultivation of Improved Varieties of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants to Enhance the Income: Dr Harsh Vardhan

Dhirendra Kumar
News Curator cum Moderator
Indian Botanists

The Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan, and Vice President, CSIR has urged the farmers and entrepreneurs engaged in cultivation, processing of medicinal and aromatic plants to adopt improved technologies and improved varieties for raising their income. Speaking at a Kisan Mela (farmers’ fair) organized at CSIR-Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants CSIR-CIMAP in Lucknow today, he said, this would also help in production of quality raw material demanded by user industries.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan addressing the farmers
The Minister said that medicinal and aromatic plants are the valuable green wealth of the country. These should be sustainably used for creating livelihood opportunities of poor people residing in rural areas. He also said that there are immense possibilities for promotion of production of medicinal and aromatic plants and industries by startups. Dr Harsh Vardhan called upon the scientists to develop improved technologies for conservation and cultivation of these plants keeping in view the changing climatic conditions and limited as well as diminishing agriculture resources. He said that farmers should be apprised regularly about the new developments being made in the research laboratories by organizing awareness meets, workshops and farmers fairs in different parts of the country.

Dr Harsh Vardhan lauded the efforts made by CSIR-CIMAP in reaching the unreached and said that these efforts be given a new push for making visible impact by creating new avenues for self-employment in rural sector. Expressing his satisfaction on development and release of improved varieties of essential oil bearing lemongrass and anti-malarial drug-producing artemisinin-rich Artemisia annua by CSIR-CIMAP, the Minister pointed out that participation of user industries should be ensured for promotion of each aromatic and medicinal plant so that poor farmers and entrepreneurs should not face difficulty in marketing of their produce.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan giving a plant to a farmer
Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that today people are inclined towards the use of drugs and cosmetics made from natural resources as ill effects have been reported from the use of synthetic drugs world over. It is also necessary to make initiatives to improve trust of the people towards herbal drugs he added. The Minister said that scientists should standardize the ayurvedic drugs so that their use can be increased in health care of the poor people. Dr Harsh Vardhan also emphasized the need for development of such plant varieties which can withstand vagaries of nature and can be grown in stressed soils ensuring utilization of large tracts of waste lands available in the country.

Other major events organized on the occasion of CIMAP Kisan Mela included interactive meet with farmers and entrepreneurs on the production and marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants, sale of publications and high quality planting material of mint, aromatic grasses and other medicinal plant varieties developed by CIMAP, demonstration of improved plant varieties and herbal products, live demonstration of distillation/ processing using CIMAP’s improved units, training on rose water and flower-based agarbatti making, demonstration of ‘Early Mint Technology’, integration of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) in traditional cropping system. A unique pilot-scale herbal product manufacturing unit ‘Technology Business Incubator Centre (TBIC)’ was also inaugurated by the chief guest Dr Harsh Vardhan. In TBIC, various machines have been installed to facilitate manufacturing of creams, gels, shampoo, oils, face wash, floor mopping liquid in approx. 100 Kg batch size. The TBIC will help the technology users and entrepreneurs to manufacture the herbal products based on CIMAP technology. This will also serve as an incubator centre for the startups.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan meeting the farmers, at a Kisan Mela
The Minister was accompanied by Shri Naveen Chandra Bajpei, Deputy Chairman, State Planning Commission, UP and Shri Praveer Kumar, Agriculture Production Commissioner, UP, Dr. Sudeep Kumar, Head Planning and Performance Division of CSIR, Dr R. A Vishwakarma, Director, CSIR-IIIM, Dr(Mrs.) Madhu Dikshit, Director, CSIR-CDRI, Dr CS Nautiyal, Director, CSIR-NBRI, Dr Alok Dhawan, Director, CSIR-IITR and Prof. AK Tripathi, Director, CSIR-CIMAP.

Representatives from various industries such as IPCA Laboratories, Jindal Drugs, Herbochem Industries, AIMIL Pharma, PIRINIC Pharma, AMORE Herbals, Ajmal Group, Essential Oil Association of India (EOAI), ICEOFF, and Spices Board, SIDBI, etc. and several buyers of medicinal and aromatic plants attended the Kisan Mela. Different laboratories of CSIR such as NBRI, CDRI, IITR and IICT demonstrated their technologies relevant to rural areas. Beneficiaries of CSIR-CIMAP technologies and services together with other companies also exhibited their products by putting up stalls in the Kisan Mela and interacted with the Minister and other dignitaries present on the occasion.

About 4000 farmers and entrepreneurs from UP, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha and others states of the country participated in the Kisan Mela.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Role of Plant Scientists in Digital Farming and Digital India

Kapil Mohan Sharma, Jaykishan Amarcholi and Ronak Patel
Navsari Agricultural University,
Navsari, Gujarat


With advancement towards a digital nation, digitization of agriculture – the backbone of Indian economy can’t be left behind. Currently, due to many reasons farmers are leaving their work behind and moving towards other alternatives. By using wide network of digital information we can imagine a nation where farming will no more be considered as a neglected job and to feed the growing population digitizations can act as one of the best supporting pillar. Integrating digitial services to agriculture sector with the help of plant scientists, farmers can be empowered towards a better and lucrative farming. By using wide network of digital information it will be possible to step ahead in farm based activities starting from its cultivation, weather information, marketing, consultancy and many more. On its better adoption, farmers can access weather news and information on how to deal with it. Incidence of pest/disease can be predicted by remote sensing, alerting concerned people to take action. Good agricultural practices are updated in every farmer’s mobile. Farm consultancy will be at finger tips.
Varietal information, which variety serves best, which practices gives better result, how to extend shelf life and many more will be more available to farmers via plant biologists thorough this media. Visualization of problems of farmers and their solutions will be more real-time which will reduce uncertainty from farmer’s part serving a betterment of agriculture.

Agriculture and India

Undoubtedly, India is the country where the farming contribute the maximum engagement of  human resources. According to Agriculture Census 2010-11, the total cropped area is 193.76 million hectare out of 328.88 million hectare of total area that accounts for 58 % of total area. Moreover, this implies the huge nature of this group and need to work on this. Though by the same census it shows that there is a rise in cropped area, still many of the farmers are now turning out and the forthcoming generation is not taking up agriculture as their profession may result in steep decline of the most important sector of India particularly in employment. Presence of other lucrative employment opportunities might be another possible reason for migration from the farm sector. These migrations in different sector can directly or indirectly influence the farming sector and one of them is 'Digitization of farming sector and Digital India initiative.

Digital India

Digital India is a initiative launched by Government of India to digitally connect the whole India. Since farming is a integrated part of India’s economy, it is of necessary that we strengthen our system for the benefit to the users (farmers) with this digitization process. To do that government has taken many initiative, some of them are:
1. mKissan : It is an online advisory services that enables the farmers to receive messages directly in their mobile phone such that they can know when to, how to, what to particularly for the weather based problems.
2. Farmers’ Portal: It is the web enabled services that is linked up with mKissan and other services. “Its a one stop shop for farmers” where they can buy seeds or fertilizer, locate dealers, get advisory and much more. Only farmers are needed to register themselves based on the location of their work particularly their district in a particular state and based on this the farmers will get their advisory.
3. Crop Insurance: An helpful app for the farmers, also available in mobile app. This enables the farmers to calculate their risk, make the crop wise insurance, gets updated about prices of insurance and so on.
4. DACNET: This is a website developed to e-connect the farmers to farmers via their voices under an ICT application. It act as an information centre, interaction of day to day activities and availability of all extension and advisory services.
5. AgriCOOP: This is integrated services enabling to know about prices, weather, connecting institutes and many other.
6. Kishan Call Centre: Calling 1800 180 1551 have made a huge impact in farming group. This gives real time call based advisory services by the experts to the farmers, making them more informed regarding the crops.
7. AgMarket: This service has let the farmer know about the prices in the market and reduces the chances of getting cheated. They also enabled them to buy or sell commodities in the or from the market.

Role of Plant Scientists in Digital India

Although so many services have been launched recently by Government of India and the backbone lies with the Plant Scientists. The data collection is done at multiple centres and not so clear for the farmers about how to use them in their farm. Plant scientists can help farmers in digitization of the data and its utility. The farmers become the major beneficiary as they can now get better guidance in this regard and take correct steps in their farming practice. 
The role of plant scientist is not only concentrated in giving the advisory via digital platform but can act further to initiate better development that ultimately leads to precision farming.Further, by getting digitally connected, its easy to share technologies from one location to other and distribute it. New technologies will be faster distributed. Simulation models can be judged for multiple locations that will give better opportunity for new crops or cropping system. Crop can be regulated according to market need which is now at our finger tips. Biotic and abiotic stress can be judged based on apps simulated by plant scientist. This will reduce the farmers to regularly visit the farm centres. 

Way Ahead 

Currently, Digital India initiative has enabled the Indian farmers in a large way. It has provided services to the farmers to link up with plant scientist such that they get better knowledge but still there is more work to be done. In many of the advanced countries, where farming is taken as a commercial business, they have integrated their farm structure in such a way that they made the farm more in their control. The crop is regularly checked by satellites based on their infra-red spectra. By this they can see if the crop is in stress or not and if yes, what is the level of their stress. By getting such updates farmers get a feedback loop and necessary steps are suggested. This integrated loop is digitally connected it means wherever you are you can see what is happening in our farm. Such services are not yet available in India for commercial purposes, there lies the open window for plant scientists to work and integrate to make the farming system more advanced fulfilling the dream of “Digital India” to “Digital Agriculture”.
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Plant Scientists and Smart Cities

Deepika Sharma
BSc(H) Botany, III year
Gargi College, Delhi University

Last year Indian government launched Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities Mission. 
“Through AMRUT, the aim of the Government is to give cities themselves the chance to plan their future growth. Under these schemes we can go ahead and we can do it together (Centre and state). India is rapidly urbanising,” PM Modi said at the launch of this scheme.
Government has not given, one single definition to smart cities. The basic principle behind the smart city is the self reliance, sustainable development and optimum utilisation of available resources. Urban centres have skill, job opportunities, and development. But if we look back then one would realize that this development is at the cost of the health of the urban space. Unhealthy population is not a good sign of any region.
But where do plants and plant scientists fit in this whole idea? 
The biggest stress to urban ecosystem is the pollution. Plants create enough space for oxygen in this cocktail of pollutants. But this is not it. Smart cities for healthy and sustainable environment doesn’t mean planting any plant and thinking that’s enough is wrong. Plants can’t be substituted or ignored while building any city. This certainly doesn’t mean that we have the liberty to promote any plant anywhere. The plants that are native to a particular region will be in better synchrony to that environment but if this plant is introduced to its non native place then it can turn invasive. Eg: Prosopis juliflora in Delhi. P. juliflora has clutched the entire ridge area that has prevented other native plants to prosper in this region. We need expertise of plant scientist who can guide which plant is better for a particular region and also maintain a regular statistics across the city. Plants also give aesthetic appeal to the city.

Plant scientists can also help in assisting government to promote agriculture in the urban space. Food  security is something which is one significant threats to our economy. Hence, it becomes important to keep a chunk of land for agriculture in the cities as well and not solely rely on the farm produce of the villages. This will open newer job opportunities and also increase the productivity.

Next step is the upkeep of plants. Sowing plants is not enough. The timely maintenance and check is a significant part. It is necessary that roadside plants be pruned regularly so that the branches do not hinder commuters or pedestrians in any ways. Also it is equally important that trees be also checked by arborist. Falling trees can be dangerous too and are potential to cause accidents.
This is very important for the urban ecology. It will be unrealistic to compare with that of the countryside. Conditions differ in the two. But yes, government needs to work out and architect to make it better for the living. Plant scientists have the major role to play to input their skills in this way.

Smart city is a planned city which can make best out of its available resources. It represents healthy and skilled society which is in equilibrium with its environment.