KARACHI - “It is a well-known fact that worldwide thousands of plant species are endangered or at the threat of extinction with the current trend of their exploitation and destruction. In such a scenario it is imperative that awareness may be spread among common people and this is the aim of setting up a botanical garden at University of Karachi which works to conserve and rehabilitate rare and endemic species which are fast vanishing on account of environmental degradation. Currently a considerable number of such plant species were being conserved through tissue culture at the university’s plant conservation centre”, these views were expressed by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Qaiser while addressing the inaugural ceremony of KU-CPC Flower Show 2013.

The event also intends to showcase the mission of the centre which revolves around conserving and restoring the rare endemic plants of Southern regions of Pakistan through tissue culture. Explaining the flower show’s unique features, KU botanical garden head Dr Anjum Parveen said that almost 3000 species of plants including endemic and endangered species as well as those indigenously used for medicinal purposes are on display in order to create awareness about them.

“These species include Cadabaheterotricha, Abutilon pakistana, Asparagus dumosus, Commiphorastockiana that are native to Sindh. We have been able to conserve these species through tissue culture at the university,” she said. Ornamental species such as Fuchsia magellanica, native to southern areas of South America, and orchids along with plants found favorable to produce bio-diesel fuel, for instance, jatropha and cassava, were also on display at the show, added Dr Anjum.

Sharing information about the Botanical Garden situated inside the University, Dr Qaiser said that the garden has many sections comprising a wide, diverse range of plants and trees, which are all watered with the help of an energy-efficient waste water treatment plant. The whole garden is connected through a 2.75km-long walkway and can be accessed by wheelchair. An amphitheater has also been constructed for educational activities.

The Vice Chancellor added that , there are some plants which are endemic to Pakistan, for instance Convolvulus Sindicus, Asparagus Dumosus (from the dried and arid regions of southern Pakistan), Abutilon Sepalum, Tamarixsalina, Ruelliasindica (bukharbooti) and Cadabaheterotricha (some of the rare plants of the Saharo-Sindian region). The first day of exhibition was attended by people from different walks of life who seemed amazed to see such a wide variety of flowers that not only provided them energy but also updated their knowledge about the flora and fauna of their region. The exhibition will last for three days. Visitors from outside the University can also enjoy the show.