Environment of Earth

January 12, 2011

Plant Diversity in India

Filed under: Diversity,plants — gargpk @ 8:01 am

Plant Diversity in the Indian Gene

Centre – R.K. Arora


Antiquity of Indian agriculture
Indian subcontinent as gene centre
Diversity in other economic plants
Appendix I (a). Crops and areas where rich diversity in landraces and primitive cultivars occurs (Mehra and Arora, 1982; with additions by the author)
Appendix I (b). Rice varieties from Kerala with useful genes (Khoshoo, 1986)
Appendix II (a). Distribution of important wild relatives and related types in different phyto-geographical zones (Arora and Nayar, 1984)
Appendix II (b). Wild relatives and related endemic and/or rare species including endemic cultigens (Arora and Nayar, 1984)


India is one of the centres/regions of crop plant diversity. It is equally rich, unique and interesting in its floristic wealth. About 15,000 species of higher plants occur, of which over 30 percent are endemic. These also include the wild relatives of crop plants. An effort has been made to briefly deal with the distribution and extent of this diversity located in different phyto-geographical/agro-ecological zones of the country. 166 cultivated plant species, of which about 50 are truly of Indian origin, exhibit rich diversity in this subcontinent. Further, about 320 species of wild relatives of crop plants occur and their distribution and diversity is discussed. Besides, the indigenous diversity in medicinal plants, forest trees, wild forage legumes and grasses, and in native ornamental plants has also been listed, thus pointing to overall richness of plant resources of India. Antiquity of Indian agriculture and its rich heritage, which is even evident today by the prevalence of ethnic diversity and traditional cultivation as in the north-eastern and peninsular regions, has been highlighted. It is pointed out that climate apart, cultural and historical factors have effectively contributed to the introduction of several crops of African, American, European and South-east/East Asian origin. The Indian subcontinent, thus holds prominence as one of ‘the twelve regions of diversity in crop plants in global perspective.