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E-Flora Kerala - Phytogeography

Phytogeographically, the flora of Western Ghats is Paleotropic derived from the Gondwanaland. The Malabar Coast is well known in the history of plant resources studies in Asia. Clarke (1898) proposed 11 phytogeographical provinces for British India. He recognized the Western Ghats as a separate province ‘Malabarica’. Prain (1903) classified the phytogeograpic region based on moisture regimes into 6 regions. According to him, India Aquosa comprises the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats. Hooker (1907) classified the botanical regions of British India into 9 regions based on species composition. The Malabar region is one among them. Chatterjee (1940) based on endemism among Dicotyledonous plants of the India-Burma regions, recognised 10 botanical regions. He also recognised Malabar as a botanical region with a high percentage of endemism. All the above phytogeographical classifications recognised the Malabar region of the Western Ghats as a distinct phytogeographic region. Rodges and Panwar (1988) grouped India’s natural habitats into 10 major biogeographic zones, based on species composition and geographic distribution viz. Trans Himalayan (Ladakh and Lachul-Spiti), Himalayan (West to East), Desert (Western India), Semi-arid (Aravallis down to the Deccan Plateau), Western Ghats, the Deccan Peninsula, the Gangetic plains, Coasts, North east (excluding Himalayan ranges) and Island groups (Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep).