ST. THOMAS COLLEGE (AUTONOMOUS), THRISSUR LAUNCHED ITS DIGITAL HERBARIUM ONLINE
Data of over 12,000 species of herbarium specimens collected since 1952will now be freely available to the public and can be accessed through an open-source online platform. Many of the specimens are 70 years old and preserved at its best condition. The teachers and students of the Department of Botany, St.Thomas College, Thrissur, Kerala have been engaged in the digitizing the entire herbarium collection and have now launched a Digital Herbarium of St.Thomas College with acronym ‘STC’. TheSTC herbariumwas formerly indexed with Index Herbariorum in January 2020. Each record in digital herbarium includes high resolution image of the preserved plant specimen, its scientific name, collection locality, collection date, collector name, barcode number and notes on the plant, ecology and uses. The information will be helpful for the study of plant taxonomy and geographical distribution. Besides, phylogenetic, molecular and museomics studies will be possible with this herbarium specimens. The STC herbarium housed more than 12,000 specimens from Kerala, and other South Indian states including Algae, Fungi, Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Plant Pathology. The first phase of the digital herbarium web database includes a total of 1130 records representing 126 families consisting of Angiosperms (983 sheets), Algae (73), Pteridophytes (43), Fungi and Pathology (28), and Gymnosperms (3). Among these, more than 200 specimens were restored from their original damaged sheets by using handmade paper sheets. The restoration and digitization of the remaining sheets are under process. Besides this digital information, the data base contains sections on Explorations, Botanical illustrations and Women in field.
The STC Digital herbarium was launched by Mar Tony Neelankavil, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Thrissur in the national seminar “Hortus Siccus” on 10.10.2020 10am at Kaviprathibha Hall. Dr. (Fr.) Martin K.A, Principal, St.Thomas College, Thrissur, Kerala, presided over the session. Rev. Fr. Biju Panengadan, Executive manager of the college delivered the Benevolence speech. Dr. Joby Paul,the coordinator of the Herbarium digitization project introduced the web data base and explained the online interface. Dr. Nisha P., Assistant professor, St. Xaviers College for Women, Aluva delivereda keynote lecture on ‘Implications and future prospectus of Herbarium’ on the occasion. Dr. Vimala Jose, head of the Department of Botany, St. Thomas College, Thrissur welcomed the gathering and Dr. Anto P.V. delivered the vote of thanks. Mr. Manoj Karingamadathil and Mr. Akshay S Dinesh were provided the web database development. By this venture St.Thomas College (Autonomous), Thissur, Kerala is established as one among the pioneer college in India with its own digital herbarium. The STC Digital Herbarium is available online at http://herbariom.stthomas.ac.in.
Besides the digital herbarium, the flora of the campus of St. Thomas College (Autonomous), Thrissur was also available online since 2021:
The campus flora consists of 285 plant species of which 139 herbs, 58 shrubs, 23 climbers, 2 parasites, 2 epiphytes and 61 trees. This species richness is from the city campus and the newly acquired centenary campus at Cheroor, Thrissur. The total vegetation of the both campuses include cultivated, agricultural garden species. However, natural vegetation thrives well in the centenary campus.The data of the species pages consists of updated Botanical Name with Author Citation, Family, special Icons for Habitat, Habit, Uses, Parts used and IUCN status, Taxonomic Hierarchy, Photographs, Common Name [English], Vernacular Name [Malayalam], Nativity, Habitat, Botanical Description, Flowering and Fruiting, Uses, Cultivation practices and References. Both Digitization projects were conducted by MSc Botany students, Research Scholars and BSc Botany students. The data can be freely accessed by the public through Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Dr. Joby Paul
Department of Botany
St. Thomas College, Thrissur – 6800001