ENVIS Bulletin Vol12(1) : Himalayan Ecology
DIVERSITY OF HORTICULTURAL CROPS IN NORTH EASTERN
B.S. Asati and D.S. Yadav
Division of Horticulture, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region,
Umroi Road, Umiam – 793103, Meghalaya
The North East region has its own unique combination of living species, habitats and
ecosystems, which together make up its diversity rich resource. While speaking strictly about plant
diversity, two regions of the country are termed as hot spots. These are – Western Ghats and the North
Eastern hill regions. In all living organisms the species is the single most useful unit to use in diversity
assessment. Species richness and the relative abundance of different species is another criterion to
measure the degree of diversity. The number of endemic species also reflects into account while
assessing the richness of diversity.
The North Eastern region of India comprising eight states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam,
Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim has vast physiographical variations,
which have been represented in 6 agro climatic zones. North East region is one of the richest reservoir
of genetic variability and diversity of different crops i.e various kinds of fruits (Table 1 & 2), different
vegetables (Table 3), spices, ornamental plants and also medicinal & aromatic plants. The diversity
for horticultural crops of this region has mainly been managed by local farmers, often women.
Considerable diversity exists among the regional horticultural species including variation in plant
type, morphological and physiological characteristics, reactions to diseases and pests, adaptability and
distribution. Apart from the nutritional value, many regional horticultural crops are used for medicinal
purposes, income generating and poverty alleviation programmes in the rural areas.
EXPLORATION AND DISTRIBUTION
Citrus: Being the home of several citrus species, rich genetic diversity occurs in the region.
Bhattacharya and Du