Context: Recently Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj convened a consultation meeting on ‘Cactus Plantation and its Economic Usage’.
- Various options for taking up Cactus plantation on degraded land should be explored for realising the benefits of its usage for bio-fuel, food and bio-fertiliser were discussed in the meeting.
- India has approximately 30% of its geographical area under the category of degraded land.
- A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae.
- Although some species live in quite humid environments, most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought.
- Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth.
- Because of this, cacti show many adaptations to conserve water.
- For example, almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water.
- Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place.
- Most species of cacti have only spines, which are highly modified leaves.
- Spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade.
- In the absence of true leaves, cacti’s enlarged stems carry out photosynthesis.
- All cacti are included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- Control is exercised by making international trade in most specimens of cacti illegal unless permits have been issued, at least for exports.
- Some cacti, such as all Ariocarpus and Discocactus species, are included in the more restrictive Appendix I.
- Cactuses are known for their nutrients as well as their medicinal value.
- Both cactus pads and cactus fruit can help fight infections and ease the symptoms of anything from hangovers to high cholesterol.
- Both the cactus pad and the cactus fruit are high in fiber, which can lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
- used as ornamental plants
- used for fodder or forage,
- Cactus fruits in particular are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is one of the best immune boosters.
- Regular doses of vitamin C increase the production of white blood cells, which can make us less likely to catch an illness — and help your body fight off viruses if infected.
- Nutrition: Cactus fruits and pads offer a dose of vitamins and nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Previous Year Question
Q.1) With reference to “Gucchi” sometimes mentioned in the news, consider the following statements:
- It is a fungus.
- It grows in some Himalayan forest areas.
- It is commercially cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of north-eastern India.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 3 only
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
Q,2) If a particular plant species is placed under Schedule VI of The Wildlife Protection Act,1972, what is the implication? (2020)
- A licence is required to cultivate that plant
- Such a plant cannot be cultivated under any circumstances
- It is a Genetically Modified crop plant
- Such a plant is invasive and harmful to the ecosystem