Assam is not only known for its famous tea gardens and endangered one-horned rhino but also for the Orchid varieties found in its valleys. The beautiful north-eastern state is known for its bio-diversity hot spots, awesome cuisine, flora and fauna. Apart from a wide range of regional herbs, shrubs and plants, Assam is also home to several fascinating species of orchids. Orchid is the state flower of Assam and it directly attached to the folk culture of Assam, where it is known as "kopou phool". There are different varieties of the "kopou phool" found across the state.
The orchid House of the Silapathar Science College was inaugurated by Dr. A. K. Mishra, Director, ASTEC, Ghy on 13th day of September 2017 during the session of District Level National Children Science Congress held at Silapathar Science College, Silapathar. Dr. S.K. Barthakur, prof. GU was also present at that happy moment. Around 110 species of orchids are being conserved in Ex-situ condition in the Orchid house. Orchids expert were invited from different corner of the state to share their knowledge base with the members of the entire are who are committed to conservation of the Orchids. For management of orchid collection and plantation, A decision as per discussion was taken according to which 20 (twenty) active students were to be selected as members every year from the department of botany who are to work with dedication for making the activities of orchid house successful.
Students from various schools having guided visit of 'Temple of Orchid'
The main objectives of orchid house are the following-
Conservation and propagation of wild orchids.
Systematic study of known and unknown orchids found in nearby forest areas.
To train at least 20 student/teacher members every year on orchid nursery management,
After regeneration, the orchids will be planted in the nearby forests under care.
To conduct awareness program on conservation of Orchid among to students .
Objective of the practice
Following objectives are taken up for the preservation of world’s beautiful and attractive orchids.
1. Rapid propagation of rare and endangered orchids through Micropopagation techniques.
2. Conduct frequent awareness programs in school and colleges for conservation of wild orchids and their habitat.
3. Establish a hub of orchid germplasm centre for academic & research purposes.
4. Maintain a green and beautiful college campus.
The Silapathar Science College has been working for nature since the time of establishment as the college is located in biodiversity hot spot region of Eastern Himalaya. The college has established an orchid temple (orchid house) to preserve the indigenous and hybrid orchids (beautiful gift of nature). Orchid temple and other wings of the college have been trying to make green environment of the college and neighborhood areas through conservation, plantation and conducting awareness programmes. Rescued orchids are mounted on campus trees which enhances the scenic beauty and healthy academic environment of the institute. Orchid Temple has taken various initiatives for conservation and propagation of rare and rescued wild orchid species of Assam. The whole campus has been rejuvenated into a centre of orchid hub and transformed the campus beautiful due to its eye-catching flowers especially in the month of March – May of every year.
Orchid Temple, Eco club, NSS and college environment cells are actively engaged to maintain green campus. These wings of the college have been conducted frequent plantation programmes and awareness on conservation of nature to stabilize and maintain the green diversity in and around the campus.
Green house / orchidarium (Orchid Temple) have established in college campus and preserving varieties of common, endangered and rare orchids. Rescued orchids are being conserved in Orchid Temple for regeneration and some are mounted on trees of the campus.
Members of Orchids temple engaged to clean and beautification though regenerating and mounting of orchids on host trees of the college campus.
Initiatives of Orchid Temple to make a green & beautiful college campus
A state level NGO named “Orchid Society of Assam” is formed in Silapathar Science College to save the orchid species and their natural habitat in Assam. Head office of this NGO is established in college campus to perform official works in connection to conservation activities of wild orchids.
Orchid Temple is partner cell of NGO “Orchid Society of Assam”. Orchid Temple organized several workshop/ training on wild orchid conservation and propagation in collaboration with Orchid Society of Assam.
Orchid temple constituted a team of 20 active members from the department of botany for taking part in conservation works, plantation, mounting of orchids in orchidarium and host trees of the college campus. The team of orchid temple is also involved in rescue of wild orchids from deforested areas.
Orchid Festival -2021 organized to aware the people for conservation of orchids.
Orchidology paper is included in curriculum of Post Graduate botany to extend the knowledge of orchids among students.
Invited the students and teachers of Schools, Colleges and University to show about necessity of orchid conservation.
Field tours by the students are conducted frequently in nearby forest areas to know the orchid diversity and their natural of habitat.
The orchid team members visited and interacted with scientist of Orchid Research Centre, Tipi, and Arunachal Pradesh for gathering real hand experience and knowledge on orchids care and propagation in Ex-situ condition.
Three shade house (Orchid Temple) established in campus for preserving rescued and other rare orchids for propagation and regeneration. About 120 species of orchids are preserving in established Orchid Temple.
Rescued orchids have also mounted in every trees of the college campus.
Evidence of Success
03 numbers of shade houses has been established to make “Orchid Temple” (Shade house no.-1, Shade house no.-2 & Shade house no.-3).
Indigenous, rare, common and hybrid orchid were identified and being preserved in established Orchid Temple.
Mounted orchids on every trees of the campus are growing in very healthy condition.
The Orchid Temple is linked with the state level NGO (Orchid society of Assam) and head office of the NGO is situated in college campus. Conservation, Plantation propagation rescue and awareness programme on orchids are functioning from the head office in collaboration with Orchid Temple members. The members of Orchid Team are fully engaged in all the activities of this NGO.
Problem Encountered and Resource Required
Facing problem in micropropagation of rare and endangered orchids due to unavailability of well equipped tissue culture laboratory.
Inadequacy of skilled manpower for maintenance of adverse climate sensitive orchid species.
No adequate fund is available for extensive survey of orchids, rescue, and plantation programe.
Orchid team faced problems by smugglers and illegal traders when they are going to protect and rescue wild orchids in natural habitats.
Unable to maintain more newly rescued and propagated orchids due to unavailability of spacious and well furniture Orhidarium(orchid house).
Rapid change of climate is factor for death of some orchid species.
Some future prospective and suggestions to fulfill the objectives of “Orchid Temple” have been framed to make green orchid hub and aware the young minds towards more conservation and propagation of orchids.
Orchid house will transformed to an orchid germplasm centre/hub with well equipped tissue culture laboratory, spacious rescue centre and all academic and research facilities.
Create massive awareness among students of school, college and University level to preserve amazing orchid species before its extinction.
More seminars, workshop on orchid propagation and conservation will conduct to motivate the students and common peoples to save orchids (world beautiful gifts of nature).
Students getting involved in the hands on experience in 'Temple of Orchid'