India's first cryptogamic garden was inaugurated in Deoban area of the Dehradun district in Uttarakhand on Sunday. At an altitude of 2,700 meters, spanning over an area of 3 acres, Deoban has majestic pristine forests of Deodar, Oak. Being a pollution-free area, it also supports the ample growth of Cryptogams.
Cryptograms are those primitive plants which do not propagate through seeds and includes Algae, Mosses, Fern, Fungi and Lichens.
In an official statement, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Indian Forest Service (IFS), Chief Conservator of Forests (Research), said, "It is India's first cryptogamic garden, established in view of ecological importance of these species and to create awareness among public about these important group of plants."
Cryptograms are lower plants which exist on earth since Jurassic era. These plants are good bio-indicators as species like Lichens do not come up in pollution infected areas. These species have tremendous economic value also as many of lichens are used as spices in famous culinary items like Hyderabadi Biryani and Galouti Kebab to add flavor.
Similarly, many algae species are a good source of various nutrients and also many of edible mushrooms. Many species of moss have good anti-fungal properties, many lichen species are used as medicines by local people and many fern species are used to filter heavy metals.
People from countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, North and South America, France, Germany, Japan, and China also use it as a food ingredient.