Wild Fruit Garden
Wild fruits serve as food supplements and contribute to the economy of the tribal people and local inhabitants. Few decades back, tribals, forest dwellers and local inhabitants use to collect wild fruits, nuts and berries from the forests and adjacent wastelands for their own consumption and sale in local markets and village hats. Fruits of beta (Calamus spp.), Bhaincha (Flacourtia spp.), Sagadabatua and Jamu (Syzygium spp), Kendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), Bara and Kantei koli (Ziziphus spp.), Khajuri (Phoenix spp.), Khirakoli (Carissa spinarum), Nara koli (Phyllanthus acidus), Lakhan koli (Uvaria hamiltonii) and many others were available in plenty in areas close to forests and local people use to sale these fruits from door to door in nearby villages, local hats and small towns in lieu of money, rice or other commodities. During the last 4-5 decades, forests have been considerably degraded as a result of human impacts and receded from the villages, resulting in poor or non-availability of these wild fruits and nuts. At present,RPRC it is hard to see these fruits even in rural market places except Jamun, Ber and few others. The genetic base of these wild edible plants has been severely eroded and they are under biotic pressure of several kinds and magnitudes. No attempt has also been made to domesticate and bring in to cultivation most of these wild plant species over the years which serve as valuable germplasm materials for crop improvement programmes and contribute significantly to the economy of the rural and tribal people. With this in view, a germplasm collection of important wild edible fruit plants of Orissa has been made at Regional Plant Resource Centrte, Bhubaneswar as an ex situ conservation measure and to serve as a resource base for further research including development of package of practices for cultivation, propagation, improvement and utilization. Presently, the Wild Edible Fruit Plant Germplasm Garden has a collection of 45 species of plants and collections are being enriched from time to time.
Besides, a an inventory of wild edible fruits, nuts and berries occurring in Eastern India has been made and a book RPRC containing information on botanical names, vernacular names, botanical description, diversity and distribution, uses, flowering-fruiting time, major areas of wild occurrence of 150 such species has been brought out to serve as a reference tool for those interested in the biological resources, their conservation and utilization in Orissa for socio-economic development of the people of the Eastern India.