This collection has been started in 1960 by Ph. GUINET and then consolidated by G. THANIKAIMONI. Some highlights of this collection:

  • ~ 22200 slides
  • >15000 species
  • Biggest tropical collection in Asia
  • 72% prepared at the IFP
  • 28% in exchange or by donation

Interlinked plant and pollen herbaria (Prasad & Anupama, 2014) offer a powerful tool for intensive light microscopic studies to shed light on plant–pollen relationships. In this regard, a key feature of the Thanikaimoni pollen slide collection of the IFP is that it is linked to authentic plant herbaria, primarily the HIFP and also others around the world. For example, the material for one of the pollen reference slides of rice (Oryza sativa L.) in this collection dates back to an 1869 material of the plant from Indochina (modern Vietnam) and preserved in the MNHN, Paris and provides ready access to rice varieties before the spread of large scale cultivation of hybridized rice varieties post the green revolution. This makes it invaluable and even indispensable as a “reference resource” for research in basic pollen morphology and paleoecological studies (Anupama et al., 2010, 2014 ) where the pollen record buried in sediments is used to know the changes that occurred in the deep past, i.e., the Quaternary (from the present day and all the way back to 2 million years at least); even the pre-Quaternary vegetation and landscape studies benefit greatly from such “modern”analogues.

A recent addition to the resources, initiated in the year 2011, is the collection of phytolith (opaline silica bodies produced in plants) slides. Phytoliths e are useful especially in contexts where pollen preservation is poor (Premathilake et al., 2017) and where it is essential to identify past agricultural practices. Complementing pollen studies with studies on phytoliths, yields additional information.

Some highlights of this collection are:

  • ~896 slides: 376 species, 100 Families
  • 10 Plant parts overall covering crops, herbs, weeds & trees



Prasad S. & Anupama K . Curr. Sci., 2014, 107 (9), p1365

Anupama K., Prasad S., Ponnuchamy, R. & Stephen, A. 2010. J. Palynology, 46: 343-363

Anupama, K., Prasad, S. and Reddy, C.S. 2014. Quaternary International 325: 93-104

Premathilake, R., Akhilesh, K., Anupama, K., Pappu, S., Prasad, S., Gunnell, Y. & Orukaimani, G. 2017. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 14: 479-499