Rare Plant Richness – And Some Recommendations
Isn’t it wonderful to know that India is referred to as a ‘mega-diversity’ country, ranking in the top 10 of the world for plant species richness. There are 10 distinct bio-geographic zones, and 2 of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. They’re incredibly unique because of the sheer variety of species, and their endemic nature, but also because some are rare, threatened, or endangered.
The North Eastern states of India are a particular treasure trove, with most of the states having over 60% of their area under forest cover. The diversity of flowering and medicinal plants is particularly outstanding here. Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have the highest diversity of floral species. Of 1,500 endangered floral species, 800 are present in North East India.
For instance, the Assamese catkin yew. It belongs to a species of coniferous trees that are only found in India. The Large-Flower Blushwort is endemic to Meghalaya. Its eye-catching arched stems, and red-orange flower petals, have a variant in the Sikkim Blushwort. The Himalayan Maple – a species of Asian evergreen maple – is found here, as also the Smooth Maple (Sikkim and Meghalaya).
Then, there’s the Jah-Khei, found blossoming in the Mawsmai area (Mawpyrshong village) of Meghalaya’s East Khasi district. It only blooms once in 12 years, so all conducive environmental efforts are urged so that it can certainly be seen again in 2027.
It was reported in 2017 that a group of Indian taxonomists rediscovered CeropegiaomissaH.Huber, a rare wild plant species that was last seen in 1916 – before which it was only seen and collected in 1835 and 1914. All sightings have reportedly been made within a radius of approximately 50 kms in the southern Western Ghats, in a biosphere reserve of Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka has the ‘rare-status’ Psilotumnudum, also known as skeleton, fork fern, or whisk fern, that grows in low clumps. Parts normally present in plants are missing in this – such as leaves, flowers, and even roots!
Also in Karnataka is Diospyroscelibica, the flowering ebony tree, known for its naturally high quality wood. Like the Ceylon Ebony, also called Indian Ebony (Diospyrosbeenun) this variety is designated ‘endangered/threatened’ status.
The same applies to the prized Red Sandalwood, endemic to India in a restricted forest cover area of Andhra Pradesh (Eastern Ghats). Once relieved from the ‘endangered’ category, this tree has fallen back into the same, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
This is but a glimpse of the delicate – even if unique and beautiful – landscape of India’s plant richness that needs special care and attention.
Now, back to Meghalaya, where the Bloom and Green Plants Nursery, La Villa Tura or GardenVilla Tura, and the Umran Horticulture Centre come highly recommended. Not to forget, the profound scope of work under the Horticulture Mission, by the Government of Meghalaya.
Below isn’t an exhaustive list of cities and their plant nurseries either, but we’ve compiled a few of the popular favourites for your exploration pleasure.
- Plant People: For a vibrant range of popular house plants, hanging plants, and minimalist green décor options; as well as landscape design and gifting.
- Vriksha Nursery: For varied options in green plants, herbs, even exotic flowers and cacti; besides garden maintenance and landscaping services.
- Gardeena Horticulture: A great place for indoor potted plants and flowers, floral arrangements for special occasions; as well as landscaping and contracting services.
- Ferntastica Garden Limited: Renowned multi-generational family enterprise, one of the city’s top horticulturists.
- Ankur Nurseries: For flowering and indigenous trees, palms, fruit, spice, and medicinal plants, creepers, hanging plants, and flowering shrubs; besides landscaping, garden maintenance, and irrigation services.
- Kabool& Sons: One of Delhi’s oldest nurseries, loved for a diverse range of garden plants, fruit and flowering plants, and ornamental varieties.
- Joginder Nursery: Specialists in palms, and larger avenue trees, besides seasonal flowering plants, shrubs, and seed varieties.
- Kamal Nursery: Another go-to household name in the city, for quality indoor and outdoor plants, and landscaping requirements.
- Masjid Nursery: Another of Delhi’s oldest and well-respected nurseries, not just for the plants, cacti and succulents, or bulbs and seeds; but well-organised, holistic teams of gardeners, landscape architects and horticulturists, who work on full-fledged projects in horticultural development.
- Greenways Nursery: For a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants, exotic varieties, perennials and annuals, bulbs, shrubs, seeds and climbers; besides gardening accessories.
- Swamy Nursery & Florist: Leading supplier of plants to various state governments and central government agencies, NGOs, horticulturists and even other nurseries.Offering an immense selection of fruit, flower and vegetable plants; creepers, perennials, house plants, cacti, and succulents for outdoor gardens and indoor mini gardens; besides gardening essentials.
- Indo-American Hybrid Seed Gardening Centre: Specialists in a generous variety of non-flowering and flowering plants, indoor potted, hanging, or table plants, succulents and cacti; besides hybrid seeds for miniature garden or kitchen garden needs.
- Lalbagh Nursery: Part of the Lalbagh Botanical Garden and under the Horticultural Department of the Karnataka Government, Lalbagh Nursery is popularly described as amongst the best plant nurseries in Bengaluru. Offering an immense selection of greens, flowering plants, evergreens, saplings, and seeds at very affordable prices.
- Saniya Nursery: Another gem for diverse options in familiar-favourite house plants, cacti, succulents; besides ferns, flowers, and exotic varieties. Seeds, compost, and gardening accessories are also available if you’re looking to ‘dig in’ with a new or renewed interest in gardening.
- Sri Maruthi Garden and Nursery: Also a very well-established and popular household name for greens, flowering plants, planting accessories like ceramic pots, and other gardening essentials.
- The Agri-Horticultural Society Of India: Established in 1820. The oldest institution of its kind in the country, with horticultural R&D, and the cultivation and preservation of distinct varieties as its main focus. An astounding variety of plants and trees flourish in its sprawling premises and it offers courses in gardening as well.
- SKN Rose and Horticulture Farm: Well-known for its pioneering work in hybridising rose varieties in the Eastern region of India. Offering a wide range of indoor and outdoor plants, gardening, landscaping, and consultancy services.
- Pratima Nursery: Again, one of West Bengal’s oldest and most reputable agricultural institutions – since 150 years, and counting. Offering indoor plants and succulents, maintenance-friendly varieties, seeds, and air-purifying varieties.
- Universal Nursery: Specialists in concept garden layouts, and suppliers to an overseas clientele as well. Offering a wide range of popular and exotic varieties, flowering plants, and avenue trees.