Khairagarh (Chhattisgarh): The forest department, in a bid to increase the forest cover of the state, has purchased a batch of boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) seeds. This South African weed has created an ecological crisis in Southern Australia and the Australian government is trying hard to eliminate the foreign weed.
Not useful for expanding forest cover
The Khairagarh Forest Division has purchased 46 kgs of seeds in January-February, the payment for which was made in March this year. When the matter came to light, the DFO began claiming that the seed are of a ‘bonsai’. It is to be noted that neither of the two plant varieties are useful in increasing forest cover.
The boneseed plants are to be planted in 288.167 hectares of land.
The DFO Dilraj Prabhakar claims that boneseed is a bonsai. A bonsai (dwarf tree) is used to decorate houses and cannot be used to increase forest cover. Also, Bonsai do not grow from seeds
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]Boneseed is a bush native to South Africa. Around the year 1880, the beauty of its yellow flowers attracted the Australians. They took it to Australia, where it flourished but later turned into an ecological problem. One boneseed plant produces 50,000 seeds in one season. The plant has no history in India. [/box]
Straight talk with Dilraj Prabhakar, DFO, Khairagarh
Q: Boneseed is an Australian herb, then why was it bought?
A: It will be planted where there is less space.
Q: But it is a weed?
A: No, basically it is a Bonsai. Any wood or non-woody plant can be turned into a bonsai.
Q: But Bonsai have no seeds?
A Sometimes, you can find the seeds. A dwarf plant will grow from the seed.
Q: You are saying bonsai, but the boneseed is a herb?
A A plant that is taller than one metre and smaller than five metres is called a herb. Bonsai, in short, is called a bone.
According to environmentalist Prof Omkarlal Shrivastava, bonsai in Japanese means ‘dwarf plant’. It does not have a seed, but is grown by cutting the main root of a somatic plant and using it to grow small plants in a pot. “It does not make sense to plant bonsai in the jungle”, he added.
[box type=”warning” align=”” class=”” width=””]Bhopal based botanical scientist Dr Surendra Barpete said that the botanical name of boneseed is Chrysanthemoides monilifera. This weed grow very fast and does not let surrounding plants and trees survive. A lot of effort was made to remove boneseed plants in Australia but they did not succeed.[/box] (Story: Bhagwat Sharan Singh)