KFRI’s Online herbarium is largest in india

Nadeesh Kareemadathil | 22nd May 2013

Thrissur: The recently launched digital herbarium of the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) has become the largest collection of plants including medicinal plants in India, available on the web. The online herbarium, http://kfriherbarium.org, is a gesture of sharing information, accumulated by the researchers who contributed to building the herbarium painstakingly, with the academic community and the general public. Currently, KFRI herbarium with 10306 specimens and with the acronym KFRI has been recognized internationally by the International Association of Plant Taxonomists (IAPT). It is the biggest online herbarium portal in India. Apart from general collections, the KFRI-herbarium has a complete collection of medicinal plants of South India and a pan Indian collection of palms and bamboos of India including from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “The online herbarium is powered by a custom made efficient search engine. The general features of the herbarium are one of the best among online herbaria,” says Dr. C. Renuka, the team head of the herbarium project. “The species in the herbaria are indexed in alphabetical order with collection numbers under respective plant families.The families are arranged according to the system of classification of flowering plants by Benthem and Hooker with delimitation to certain families in accordance with their current concepts. The herbarium has 10306 specimens representing more than 2040 species from 203 families. The herbarium also has 90 species of pteridophytes,” says K.H. Hussain, scientist, department of library and information, KFRI.“

The website facilitates authentic identification of plants and provides material and data for taxonomic research. It also serves as a source of data on natural distribution, phenology, ecology and utilization of plants. Unlike other existing online herbaria in the world, this site helps understanding on the diversity of plants in a particular geographic entity,” says T.G. Laseetha, a research scholar at the veterinary college, Mannuthy.

The KFRI herbarium was started in the early 1980s with regular field collections of specimens.