Plant museum opened at Karachi University
Karachi, June 6(The News): Herbarium is a dried plant museum in the University of Karachi (KU) which has
opened new dimensions in the study of Botany by collecting specimens of more
than 150,000 dried plants and compiling a directory on flora from around
Pakistan and abroad.
The plants are continuously collected in the
Herbarium and studied. It has been observed that some plants showed different
characteristic after a period of 50 or more years, for instance a plant, may
begin its flowering process in March this year, but half a century later this
same species may commence its flowering process in January, this shows that a
variation in climatic changes has altered the flowering and other processes of
The information is useful to researchers, town planners,
environmentalists and students in calculating climatic changes and in planning
new towns after considering the detailed studies and the knowledge gleaned from
plants of different species from time to time.
Prof. Pirzada Qasim, the
Vice Chancellor of KU had laid the foundation stone of this Herbarium, a
two-storey building on a covered area of 10,000 square feet, in 2005.
Department of Botany is also preparing a 'Data List' of more
than 300 to
400 plants found in Chitral to preserve their floral identity in the
Approximately, 500 plant species abundantly grow in Pakistan,
with a majority of these found in Chitral.
Dr Mohammad Qaisar, former
Dean Faculty of Science and incumbent Director of Herbarium said that the
objective of preparing the "Red Data List" was to provide guidelines for further
conservation and research.
"Pakistan is the only country in the region
where scientists and researchers have obtained information about the country's
floral resources and prepared valuable documentation. While Japanese researchers
have prepared documentation on Afghan flora and the British on India and Nepal,
the Americans provided their services to China and the Europeans worked with
Iran in this regard," he claimed.
He said that four plants, namely
Abitinlon Alii, Sepalum, Asparagus and Acacia nilotica SubSP Hemispheric, are
abundant in Karachi. He said that Acacia nilotica SubSP Hemispheric plant is
found along the coastline of the city, but this plant is fast becoming extinct
due to oversight and development work at some specific coastal sites of the
The Flora of Pakistan is compiled by Dr Syed Irtifaq Ali and Dr
Qaisar, and is available on the Internet with the active collaboration of the
Missouri Botanic Garden, USA.