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Ongoing Projects

Cultivation of Cactus by setting up of Modern Cactus House at Assam Bio-Resource Centre (Under Popularization of Science)

Sponsoring Department: Dept. of Science Technology, Govt. of Assam.

Total Project Cost: 30.00 lakh

Year of fund allocation: 2011 – 12

Introduction: A cactus (plural: cacti) is a member of the plant family Cactaceae. Their distinctive appearance is a result of adaptations to conserve water in dry and/or hot environment. In most species, the stem has evolved to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have evolved into spines. Many species are used for ornamental plants, and some are also grown for fodder, forage, fruits, cochineal and other uses.

Cacti come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The tallest is Pachycereus pringlei with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m and the smallest is Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm in diameter at maturity. Cactus flowers are large and like the spines arise from distinctive features called areoles.

There are about 2,500 species of cacti belonging to 93 genera distributed in different parts of the world. Cacti, cultivated by people worldwide, are a familiar sight as potted plants, houseplants or in ornamental gardens in warmer climates. They often form part of xerophytic (dry) gardens in arid regions, or raised rockeries. Numerous species have entered widespread cultivation, including members of Echinopsis, Mammillaria and Cereus among others and most of them are also cultivated in India as fencing material, ornamental plant and plants of edible fruits. Some cacti are also of pharmaceutical significance.

Some species have become endangered in the wild because of overharvesting for sale as an ornamental plant. All cacti are covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and many species, by virtue of their inclusion in Appendix I, are fully protected.

The state of Assam has vast scope for further research on this particular group of plants and its trade development by adopting the modern technique of propagation. Some selected commercially viable species of cacti can be grown in a specially made modern cactus house/ poly houses for large scale production as well as conservation purposes.

The Modern Cactus House will be an ideal and unique infrastructure to the NE region which will facilitate the students, unemployed youths, progressive farmers, educational institutions, etc. Various R&D organizations of the State will be benefited in carrying out research works in this line. Research works at the Assam Bio-Resource Centre can also be taken up on standardization of culture techniques, propagation methods, breeding, mutagenesis, cytogenetic and molecular characterization of principal cactus genera in future. Science Popularization programmes can also be organized on Cactus cultivation which will help in conservation of biodiversity in our state.

front view inside view SIde View back view

Objectives

1. Setting up of a Modern Cactus House at Assam Bio-Resource Centre.
2. Awareness training for school students/ unemployed youths/ progressive farmers for popularization and entrepreneurship development on cactus cultivation.
3. Collection, cultivation and conservation of cactus species.

Activities taken up

1. Construction & Commissioning of Modern Cactus House at Assam Bio-Resource Centre completed.
2. One Project Assistant engaged under this scheme.
3. Work of collection, cultivation and conservation of Cacti is in progress.
 
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