The department of Botany was established in 1927 with the commencement of the Degree course, the first ever BSc Course in Botany in Kerala. Prof. T.S. Raghavan, M.A., Ph.D., F.R.M.S., FLS is the founder of the Department. The department began functioning with two members: Prof. A H Sundara Raman and Prof. K V Pandalay. Over the years, it has grown into a full-fledged department with graduate and postgraduate Botany courses and a research center affiliated with Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. Affiliation for MSc Botany was granted in 1961. The elevation of the department as a Research Centre in 1986 was a landmark in its history. During the term of Prof. T V Devasia, the regional Herbarium of Kerala was installed in the College under the aegis of the University Grants Commission (UGC). The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, presently recognizes the department under the FIST program. The Department has identified various thrust areas of research viz. Plant systematics, Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Seed Physiology, Environmental Sciences, Plant Biotechnology, and Genetic Engineering. Steps are underway to start a full-fledged laboratory in phytochemistry to give impetus to medicinal plant research. As the glorious years roll into the history of the department, it has developed by leaps and bounds contributing significantly to the development of the college and society.
The Botanic Garden is situated on the North-East border of the college campus. The 1.5-acre site of the garden includes a greenhouse, nursery, vermicompost, arboretum, and a Linnaean garden. The garden now had a dense collection of plants of botanical importance as well as red-listed species. The value of the garden has been and is in providing specimens for laboratory work and research activities and also in providing saplings for social forestry programmes.
The Department houses the Regional Herbarium of Kerala (International Acrynium RHK). It was established in 1984. The Herbarium contains more than 10281 accessions representing the angiosperm diversity in the state of Kerala. Taxonomy research scholars from all over the state use this rich resource for their study.
The Department is quite fortunate in having its own special library. It contains rare books, Floras, journals, and dissertations. It is run by the contributions of teachers and students.
The museum is a substantial one, which illustrates the diversity of plant life. Rarities such as fossils and a vast collection of Xylarium books of trees of Western Ghats are treasured here. Associated with the museum are public displays of botanic collections and botanical art in the corridors of the Department.
a. Plant Systematics:
The plant systematics Laboratory, established in 1982, works in close collaboration with the regional Herbarium of Kerala (RHK) housed in the Department.
b. Plant Biotechnology:
The plant biotechnology laboratory was started in 1990 to promote research and teaching in plant tissue culture. The lab was recently extended as to include Microbiology and Molecular Biology divisions.
c. Environmental Science:
The environmental Science Laboratory was founded in 1994 to address to both fundamental and applied questions.
The “Gurusmarana” Lecture series was instituted by the retired teachers of the Department of Botany of St. Berchmans College in 2004 to provide the budding Botanists a glimpse of the recent trends in plant sciences.
|2004||Dr. Jose Kallarackal, Senior Scientist, KFRI, Peechi|
|2005||Dr. V. J. Dominic, Reader, Dept. Botany, S.H. college, Thevara|
|2006||Dr. Joseph John K, Senior Scientist, NBPGR, Trissur|
|2007||Dr. PKK Nair, Director, ERRC, Trivandrum|
|2008||Dr. Joy P Joseph, Reader, Dept. of Botany, S.H. College, Thevara|
|2009||Dr. Dennis Thomas, Associate Professor, St. Thomas College, Pala|
|2010||Dr. Aravind Babu, DDC International, Cochin and|
|Dr. Ajith Babu, Associate Professor, St. Louis University|
|2011||Dr. Vinod Kumar S, John Innes Centre, Norvich, UK|
|2012||Rev. Dr. Mercy Nedumpuram, Principal, Assumption College, changanacherry|
|2013||Rev. Dr. Mathew Mazhuvancheril, Director, Pushpagiri hospital, Thiruvalla|
|2014||Dr. J. G. Ray, Director, School of Biosciences, MG university, Kottayam|
|2015||Dr. Leena Kumari, Professor and Head, Rice Research station, Moncompu|
|2016||Dr. Shaju Thomas, Head, Division of Environmental Education and Conservation, TIES, Kottayam|
|2017||Dr. Sunnichen VG, Director R & D, Home Grown Biotech, Kanjirappally|
|2019||Dr. Sanjeeva Nayaka, Principal Scientist, National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, India|
|2020||Dr. Manoj Kumar A, Assistant Professor Department of Botany, Govt. College, Chittor|
Symbiosis is an outreach programme initiated by the Department of Botany. It is a forum where the farmers, students, and faculty interact. The programme is intended to introduce novel developments in science and technology, especially in the agriculture sector, to the farmers. In exchange, the students and faculty get first-hand information regarding the challenges faced by the farmers and the traditional wisdom they possess. Farmers are given training, and students and faculty members visit the field and interact with the farmers.
The department of botany takes great pride in its benefactors who have instituted endowments to the tune of nearly a million rupees, the annual interest of which goes to support more than 20 students each year. The benefactor’s day is held annually to express the appreciation of the Department and the College to all the donors.
Navodhakam is an extension programme of the Department of Botany. This project aims at eco-restoration and sustained maintenance of the Poovakkatuchira pond in collaboration with Changanassery Municipality. The pond is a nine-acre freshwater body situated in the neighborhood of the college. The regular maintenance of the pond and monitoring of the floral and faunal changes is bestowed upon the department by the Changanassery Municipality. On a weekly basis, teams of faculty and students patrol the lake to ensure its cleanliness.
SAMIDHA is an all-Kerala intercollegiate Botany quiz competition organized by the department. It is organized with the financial support of the 1988-1990 M. Sc. Botany batch of the department.