Division of Flower and Medicinal Crops came into existence after merging of Division of Floriculture and Section of Medicinal Crops in 2016.
Research work on flower crops had started under the Division of Ornamental Crops in 1968 with the establishment of Indian Institute of Horticulture Research at Bangalore. Division of Medicinal and Aromatic Crops was established at IIHR, Bangalore in1973-74 as an outcome of a report submitted by the National Commission on Agriculture for prioritizing the medicinal crops for research later it was converted into section. In 2016, Section of medicinal crops was merged with the Division of Ornamental Crops to form Division of Floricultue and Medicinal crops. In 2020, based on recommendation of QRT, divisions of the institute were reorganised and renamed and since then research on flower and medicinal crops is being done under the heading of ‘Division of Flower and Medicinal Crops’.
Lots of progress has been made in development of novel varieties of flower and medicinal crops along with appropriate production technology. With the emphasis on export earning and emergence in the demand for cut flowers, efforts were diversified to include protected cultivation. Over the years, the division has developed a good number of varieties and hybrids for open field as well as for protected cultivation. Many of these varieties are popular with farmers and are in demand across the country. As a National Active Germplasm Site, the division is conserving germplasm of several flower and medicinal crops. With emerging issues of Plant Breeders Rights, the division is doing collaborative work with the support of PPV & FR (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights) Authority, for implementation of the act.
Past Division Heads:
Division of Ornamental Crops/Division of Floriculture was headed by Dr. N. Negi, Dr A. Mukhopadya, Dr. Foja Singh, Dr. R.N. Bhat, Dr. M.L. Choudhari, Dr. Devinder Prakash, and Dr. Meenakshi Srinivas for different duration. While the Division/Section of Medicinal Crops was independent, it was headed by Dr. R. Krishnan, Dr. S.K. Bhattacharjee, Dr. H.C. Srivastava, Dr. T. Vasantha Kumar and Dr. Hima Bindu for varying time period. After the merger of the divisions, Dr. T. Manjunath Rao and Dr. C. Aswath had served as Heads of the Division
Mandate of the Division:
- Carrying out basic and strategic research for enhancing productivity and quality of Flower and Medicinal Crops
- To act as a repository of genetic resources by enrichment, documentation and conservation of diversity in Flower and Medicinal Crops
- Genetic improvement of commercially important flower and medicinal crops for novelty, quality and yield.
- To develop advanced and precision production technologies for enhancing input use efficiency, productivity and profitabity in flower and medicinal crops
- Many varieties of flower crops have been released for open field cultivation in Tuberose, Gladiolus, Rose, Marigold, Crossandra, Chrysanthemum and Aster that have become popular with farmers. Some popular varieties are Arka Prajwal of Tuberose, Arka Savi of Rose, Arka Chenna of Crossandra and Arka Kamini in Aster.
- Elite varieties of medicinal crops like velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),and Centella (Centella asiatica), Dioscorea (Dioscorea floribunda), Solanum viarum with higher active ingredients and yield have been released that are being widely cultivated by the growers and also licensed to the industries.
- Addressing the need of protected cultivation and the need to replace imported varieties, several varieties of Gerbera, Rose and Carnation have been released and are being demonstrated for their potential.
- Multiple varieties suitable for garden display and pot plant production have been developed in Rose, Chrysanthemum, Carnation and Aster that are ideal for landscape and for pot plant production.
- Trait specific novel genetic stocks of Rose, Marigold, Tuberose, Gladiolus, Gerbera, Carnation, Aster, Chrysanthemum and Centella have been registered with NBPGR.
- Production protocols for phenophase based irrigation and nutrient scheduling in Tuberose, Chrysanthemum, Aster, Crossandra, Gebera have been developed and are effectively being followed by growers.
- Protocols of advanced technologies for vertical farming, hydroponics and soilless culture have been developed for Gerbera, Lilium and Orchids and are getting popular particularly with urban and semiurban area.
- Standardized protocols for potted plant production of flowering plants and medicinal herbs that are getting popular in urban area.
- Organic production technologies have been standardized for commercially important medicinal crops like Kalmegh, Coleus forskholii, Centella asiatica and Tulsi for facilitating organic cultivation of these herbs.
- Division has been involved in development of DUS testing guidelines for several flower and medicinal crops and is playing vital role in implementation of PPV&FR Act.
Dr. P. Naveen Kumar
Principal Scientist & Head
Division of Floriculture and Medicinal Crops
IIHR, Hessaraghatta Lake Post
Bangalore - 560 089.