Volga V. R.
, M. K. Ratheesh Narayanan
, N. Anil Kumar
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Puthoorvayal, Kalpetta 673131, Wayanad Dist., Kerala, India
present address: Dept. Of Botany, Payyannur College, Payyannur 670327, Kannur Dist., Kerala, India
ABSTRACT: A study was conducted to find out the diversity of endemic tree species of southern Western Ghats in
Wayanad District of Kerala, India. For this several field trips were conducted in all area of Wayanad and collected
materials for identification. A total number of 136 species comes under 38 family were recorded. Out of these family
Lauraceae shows more number of plants with 17 species.
The Western Ghats is a chain of mountains of 1600 Km in length running parallel to West cost of Peninsular India
from the river Tapthi to Kanyakumari, the southern tip of peninsular India. Western Ghats is one of the 33 recognized
ecologically sensitive zones in the World, which is a home to 1500 flowering plants, at least 84 amphibian species, 16
bird species, 7 mammals and, which are not only found nowhere else in the world, but restricted to specific habitat
niches. The significance of the Western Ghats is that along with its rich biodiversity, it also supports a rich
Environment-dependant civilization of several thousand years. It is estimated that there are four thousand species of
flowering plants known from the Western Ghats and 1,500 (nearly 38 percent) of these are endemic . Approximately
63 percent of India’s woody evergreen taxa are endemic to the Western Ghats . There are several centres of plant
endemism and species richness within the Western Ghats. For instance, of the 280 woody endemic species found south
of Karnataka, 70 species are endemic to the southernmost Travancore region. This high level of diversity and
endemism in the Western Ghats has conferred on them the hot spots statuses. The southern section of Western Ghats is
by far the richest area in context to floristic composition and concentration of endemic taxa . Nayar has identified
three endemic centres in Kerala–Agasthyamalai, Anamalai high ranges and Silent valley–Wayanad.
Nearly 4000, or 27% of the total plant species in India, have been recorded from the Western Ghats . The evergreen
forests of the Western Ghats are characterized by a very high percentage of species endemic to the region. The total
number of endemic plant species is estimated to be 1500 (MacKinnon & MacKinnon 1986). Among the evergreen tree
species, 56% are endemic. Therefore, the Western Ghats are considered as one of the biodiversity hot spots of the
world . Species richness and endemism are, however, not uniformly distributed along the Ghats. The southernmost
regions which have the most favorable climatic conditions with high, but not excessive, rainfall and short dry season
are the ones with the highest biodiversity and contain the highest number of endemic species [9, 12]. Southern Western
Ghats is one of the two mega endemic centres in Western Ghats  Kerala form a major species rich part of Southern
Western Ghats harbouring a total of 4679 flowering plants out of which 1637 are endemics and 483 are listed as
threatened and tree forms form major elements in flora of Kerala. A total of 1016 tree species are reported to occur in
Kerala, out of which 319 are Western Ghats endemic and 171 listed as threatened .
International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences Page: 197
Volga et al Copyrights@2013 IJPAES ISSN 2231-4490
Wayanad district is with a hilly terrain on the southern Western Ghats and located in the northeast part of Kerala at a
distance of about 76 km from the seashores of Kozhikode. The area lies between North latitude 11
26’ to 12
East longitude 75
75’ to 76
56’. The altitude varies from 700-2100 metres above MSL. It is bounded on the east by
Nilgiris and Mysore district of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka respectively, on the north by Coorg district of Karnataka, on
the south by Malappuram district and on the west by Kozhikode and Kannur districts of Kerala. The forest records of
1887 show that Wayanad had about 75801 acres of reserve forest and 111897 acres of reserve land. According to the
forest department, the present forest cover is about 787 sq. km.
An extensive field survey of the study area was carried out from August 2010 to December 2012 for listing the tree
species. Most of the forest areas were covered in accordance with the phonologic period of corresponding family for
getting flowering and fruiting specimen for identification. Collected specimens were identified with the help of Flora
of the Presidency of Madras , The Flora of Tamil Nadu, India, Flowering Plants of Thrissur Forests ,
Biodiversity Documentation for Kerala. Part 6: Flowering plants. , Floristic study of Wayanad District giving
special emphasis to Rare Threatened plants .
RESULT AND DISCUSSION
Besides many individual publications on rediscoveries and conservation status of rare and threatened species of
Western Ghats, IUCN (2006) published a checklist of rare and threatened plants of Indian region. Southern Western
Ghats is the richest area in context to floristic composition with 1286 species of endemic taxa (Nayar, 1996). The
present study records 136 endemic taxa comprising 83 genera of 38 families of flowering plants. In which more
endemism is seen in family Lauraceae (17species) followed by Rubiaceae and Euphorbiaceae (11 species each),
Myrtaceae and Annonaceae (10 species) Anacardiaceae (9 species), Celastraceae (6 species) Ebenaceae,
Dipterocarpaceae and Symplocaceae (5 species each), Flacourtiaceae, Sterculiaceae, Meliaceae, Caesalpiniaceae (4
species). The details of plants are given below.
Table-1: List of Endemic Trees Recorded.
International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences Page: 198
Available online at
Dillenia bracteata Wight
Metrephora grandiflora Bedd.
International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences Page: 200
Chionanthus courtallensis Bedd.
The authors are grateful to Prof. M S Swaminathan, Chairman and Dr. Ajay Kumar Parida, Executive director of M S
Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, India for providing facilities and support. Extended thanks to Sir Dorabji
Tata Trust, Mumbai, for the research grand. We thank to Kerala Forest Department for the field level help and all staff
members of Community Agrobiodiversity Centre, M S Swaminathan research Foundation, Wayanad.
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