Dr. Rajkumar Kishor
Parkiaspecioa, commonly called ‘Thailand Yongchak’ in Manipur can now thrive well and produce fruits successfully in the ambient environmental condition of Imphal Valley. A seven-year-old plant of the tree bean growing in the homestead of Shri Ph Jashobanta Sharma of Sagolband Thangjam Leirak bore fruits for the first time in 2023. The plant is about 15 feet tall and bore 6 bunches of pods each having 2-6 pods per bunch. He obtained the plant from Dr Rajkumar Kishor, MD & Chief scientist of Kwaklei and Khonggunmelei Orchids Pvt. Ltd., Sagolband Bijoygovind in 2017. He planted two plants but one died soon after. He said, “Flowering started by 2021-22 but could not bear fruit until this season. The plant has no disease infestation and is healthy.
Pods of Parkiaspeciosa were obtained from people who visit Thailand and trial was done to germinate the seeds using in vitro culture technique in 2016 by Dr. Kishor. About 6000 seedlings were raised and most of them distributed to yongchak enthusiasts of the State who wanted to grow them.
With the changing climatic regime of the region, the indigenous yongchak (Parkiatimoriana syn. roxburghii) of Manipur and other parts of NE India declined in growth and fruiting coupled with pest and disease infestation. This apparently indicates a threat to survival of the most important winter delicacy of the region.
Therefore, in an attempt to pave way for genetic improvement of yongchak Dr Kishor thought of a trial to introduce Parkiaspeciosa in Manipur so that they might cross pollinate to regain vigour including resistance to pest and diseases. Moreover, as the species being a summer-time fruit bearing yongchak, with peak-fruiting in Sept-October, availability of fresh yongchak could be extended over 10 months in a year.
Parkiaspeciosa is native of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. It is also grown in cultivation in other SE Asian countries. This plant has a long flowering period (April– October) in southern Thailand and many trees flower twice a year. In contrast, P. timoriana has a short flowering period, from Decem- ber to mid-January.
The writer is MD & Chief Scientist, Kwaklei and Khonggunmelei Orchids Pvt. LTd. Sagolband Bijoygovind, Imphal Phone : 9856664628