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2Department of Botany, Chandbali College, Chandbali, Bhadrak- 756133, Odisha, India
The plant world has always been a base for the Odishan culture, both for material culture (practical uses) and for the spiritual one (myth and symbols). The people of Odisha use various plant species to perform their rituals for the wellbeing of human, animals, plants and their surrounding environment as a whole. A study has been conducted to document the indigenous uses and beliefs of plants that are utilized in perishing ritual such as Bata Osha popularly called as Jamaraja Osha. Information was gathered from informants of various ages in different villages of the district by using participant observation, open-ended conversations and semi-structured questionnaires. Bata Osha is observed by the married women of villages at mid night about 10-11 PM on 3rd day of Panduu Purnema in Odia calendar month of Pausa (Dec.-Jan) every year. The Osha is meant for blessing and long life of son and to give birth a son who has no son. A total of 28 plant species belonging to 27 genera under 15 families are recorded. The most cited plant families are Arecaceae with 5 species followed by Poaceae and Malvaceae with four species each. The traditional knowledge, various sociocultural beliefs and practices, religious taboos emerged in course of development of human society no doubt play an important role in protecting the natural resources and thereby managing the biodiversity.