The basic ingredients for horticultural crop enhancement are the plant genetic resources, which are a reservoir of genes and gene complexes. Horticultural crops’ abundance of species and genetic variation provide a wealth of options that may be realised by adopting more logical, scientifically grounded, and practical techniques.
The gathering, preservation, and use of horticultural crop genetic resources have advanced significantly. A great number of variants have resulted from earlier concentrated attempts.
Surveys to gather top germplasm for fruit crop genetic improvement by the Institutions are generally restricted to their particular operational areas. These attempts, meanwhile, have largely been irregular. Surveys to take use of the local variety have finally been realised, especially given the threat of genetic loss.
According to estimates, 1700 species, or 10% of India’s 5000 indigenous flowering plant species, are so endangered (Nayar, 1987). In advance-designated areas known to contain great variety, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources organised crop-specific explorations with institutional cooperation.
India has a wide variety of banana and plantains that may meet any demand, whether it is for the fruit, vegetable, flower, or even leaf industries. They represent a multibillion dollar global market.
Many of the lesser-known kinds, especially the land races, can be utilised with methodical attempts to discover their unique uses. Exploiting commercial varieties is important, but the country’s true power comes from thinking outside the box and making the most of this crop’s latent potential.
Seeded landraces Ladiarit, Ladison, Rigitchi and other elite types Hatigola, Eboke, Ginde, Egitchi and Essing from Meghalaya landraces mostly belonging to balbisiana (BB group) having resistance to drought cold and frost, M.cheesmani and M. velutina, from Arunachal Pradesh, banana varieties Kulprit, Safri, Anatur and Dingamanika from Cachar and Jaintia hills and landraces Palayakodan, Kallur, Nayoodyan, Koombodiayan, Annarkanan and Katu from North Kerala and Betta-bale, Putta – bale, Karibale, Bergi-bale, Sungathi-bale, Rasa-bale, Pachcha-bale, Gujar-bale and Raja-bale from Karnataka have been reported.
According to one estimate, there are 6000 citrus accessions worldwide, including wild species, ancient cultivars, cutting-edge cultivars, and breeding lines. 33 genera and 224 species of Citrus and their wild cousins (Aurantioides subfamily) have been identified worldwide and can be utilised to enhance it.
Citrus and its cousins in the Aurantioideae subfamily are known to have originated in South-east Asia. North-east India, South China, and North Myanmar have also been identified as the earliest origin regions for modern Citrus species.
The genus Eremocitrus and Microcitrus are found in Australia, Clymenia in New Guinea, Poncirus and Fortunella distributed in China and genus Citrus distributed in India, China, Myanmar and Malaysia. In India, Citrus types Mimangnarang, Chinora and Sohkwit of C.macroptera, Sohsyng of C.assamensis, Sohkhyllah (a natural hybrid), Sohmyngor of C.grandis and Sohsien, a vermillion coloured C.reticulata from Meghalaya (Anon., 1986), wild types resembling pummelo, orange, lemon and limes such as Rebab, Tahi, Tanyum, Sohmiag, Riang, Pinch-Tasing, Pinchipunia, Sikiang-Tasing Sipa-egra from Arunachal Pradesh (Anon., 1987) were found to occur.
Jackfruit types Varikka, Kooza, Navarikka/Pazam Varikka, Rudrakshachakka or Thamarachakkal (Kooza + Varikka) and other wild forms have been collected from Wynaad Plateau in Western Ghats of Kerala. Three types, Rasdar, Khajwa and Sugandhi were identified in the plains of eastern UP.
From Orissa, regular bearing Paushia, scented Haldibas, bunch bearing Seetabhog, flavoured Topisundari, Baunia, Karpurkeli, other elite types Belgaja, Theki, Chanamunda, Mahorajpasand, Manda, Sagarlangra types having bright coloured fruits such as Lal Sundari, Sinduri, Beta Sundari, Goba Sundari, Sundarimath and Ashokgaja; types having good taste, such as Swarnalata, Chandrama and Sasgulla; and Khoja, having fruits with long shelf life , potential commercial cultivars Agna-Kosha, Sunehari Udyan Sundari, Lahsun, Kachhaswadi, Dahipatti and Lungagudi; and rootstock types Thurri and Gurudi have been collected.
A dwarf and late maturing mango cultivar, Moreh, collected from Manipur bears very sweet fruits with high pulp content within two years after planting and is free from stone weevil (Anon., 1989-90).
Promising types Ladankoo, Heer, Anphus, Meenakshi, Avadh-ki-Shaam, Makhsoos, Jalmorni, Shareefa, Dilpasand, Nashpati, Kakran, Pukhraj, Sharbati, Bagrain, Sahib Pasand and a pickling mango bearing 25-40 fruits in a cluster have been selected from the variability existing in western UP
Some wild edible temperate fruits such as Sorbus cuspidata, Malus baccata, Pyrus pashia, Prunus cornuta, Punica granatum, Juglans regia and Ribes himalense from Kumaon hills walnut, hazel nut, P.cornuta, apple, pear, Rosa sp., Crataegus, Rubus and Corylus colurna from Pangi variety and Elaegnus, Prunus, Docynia and Pyrus from khasi hills in Meghalaya have been collected.
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