Table 11 : Some extremely rare taxa of Western Ghats (presumed to be extinct ?)
N. Arcot dist., Tamil Nadu
Nilgiri hills; Sri Lanka
Kodaikanal Sholas, T.N
T. N; Kerala: Sri Lanka
Chatursringhi hills, Pune, Maharashtra
Annamalai hills, T. Nadu
Anaimudi slopes, Idukki district, Kerala
Kalar valley, Idukki dist., Kerala
Coorg, Karnataka & Travancore hills,
Annamalai & Nilgiri hills, T. N
Wynad forest, Kerala
Tirunelveli dist., T. N
Palaghat hills, Kerala
Madurai dist. T.N.
Nilgiris hills, T.N
E. Coast of Tranquebar, S. India
Paikara in Nilgiri district, T. Nadu
Nilgiri dist. T.N
Karnataka , Kerala
Hills of Kerala, T. N , Karnataka
Kerala: Sri Lanka
Nilgiri hills, Coonoor, T.N
Courtallum & Tirunelvelli, T.N
Quilon dist., Kerala
Nilgiri hills, T. N
Palni hills, T.N
Table 12: Some Western Ghats taxa not collected after their Types
Quilon, Kerala 1894.
Idduki, Kerala, 1880.
Annamalai hills, Tamil Nadu,
Tirunelvelli, Tamil Nadu, 1864-
N.Arcot, Tamil Nadu, 1850.
Tirunelveli hills, T. N
Palani hills, Madurai, 1899
Pulneys, T.N., 1897
Nilgiris , T. N. 1889
Anamalai hills, 1864
Kulhatti, Kadur, 1897
Conservation of such species which are not covered by protected areas under ex-situ conditions, in
botanical gardens and other germplasm preservation centers is another aspect that is strongly
recommended. The institutes like Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, which
primarily deals with medicinal and aromatic plants has already several collections of medicinal and
aromatic species in their gene bank. The collections should be further strengthened. The author at
CIMAP Resource Centre at Bangalore initiated a programme of introduction, evaluation and
multiplication of as many medicinal and aromatic species of Western Ghats as possible. So far, 70
species are being grown and conserved in the conservatory. While ex-situ conservation helps in
conservation of the selected rare and endangered species, such centers also provide for the study of
their chemistry, reproductive biology, their agro technology and even multiplication. Constant supply of
required quantity of material for evaluation of medicinal and aromatic plants is also assured through
such germplasm conservation. The pharmaceutical industries and others dealing with the large scale use
of medicinal and aromatic plants must also come forward to identify the locally available such species,
introduce them in their collection centers and multiply them so that these are not only conserved, but
Yellapur & Karwar
Arasikere ( Karnataka)
also help in identifying the elite populations for further investigations and adopting them as future
India’s efforts towards conservation of biodiversity is also praiseworthy. Among the several steps
taken for conservation of the biodiversity, the following are important (a) India is a signatory to all
International conventions on biodiversity (b) Biological diversity Bill (2000) and National and State
Biodiversity Boards for all states established (c) Forty seven plant species from India are included in
CITES and Scientific and Management Authorities designated (d) Under Man and Biosphere Reserve
programme 15 Biosphere Reserves declared (e) Prepared project documents for all Biosphere
Reserves(f) Eighty nine National Parks, 496 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 27 Tiger Reserves, 25 Ramsar Sites, 17
Wetlands areas, 15 Mangrove areas, 6 World Heritage Sites and 4 Coral Reef areas declared (g)
Establishment of National Gene banks at different places (h) Publications of Red Data Books by the
Botanical Survey of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (i) Funding research
programmes through DBT, DST and Ministry of Environment and Forests aiming at conservation of rare
species and their habitat recovery (j) Financial support for establishment of Botanic Gardens and ex situ
conservatories for rare and endangered species by Ministry of Environment and Forests. Recently
efforts are also on to declare the whole of Western Ghats as a World heritage site. As many as 39 sites
scattered in States of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the Western Ghats are in the UNESCO list of
natural world heritage sites and the author hopes that the tag of world heritage site attached to these
hills certainly helps in in situ conservation of the flora and fauna of the region.
SOME URGENT TASK FOR FUTURE
Studies on assessment of the floristic diversity in the country are still incomplete. It is said that nearly
30% of the country still remains under explored. There is an urgent need to systematically survey and
document all the economically important species in the wild for future bioprospection work.
Taxonomists and Ecologists should take up studies on assessment of infra specific variations in wild
species and develop databases. Bioprospection of the medicinal and aromatic species involving
Taxonomists, Ecologists, Phytochemists, Molecular biologists, Geneticists, Plant Breeders is also
strongly recommended. As the flora is fast dwindling due to several anthropogenic factors, priority
must be attached to the study of all wild flora. As a first step in this direction, it is necessary to
establish a chain of conservatories of wild plants, particularly of rare, endangered, endemic and other
economically important species. The author strongly urges to develop coordinated programmes on all
major groups for stock taking and identifying gaps, avoiding duplication of efforts, develop expertise for
all groups through training programmes, strengthen biodiversity collection centers (herbaria), identify
areas needing further exploration and attempt once for all following co-ordiantated multidisciplinary
programmes, attempt assessment of infra-specific diversity in at least few economically important
species, develop consolidated National Biodiversity database and distribution maps for all species
under central supervision with networking of information among different regional centers. However,
the constraints in this direction are also too many, such as, lack of much required cooperation between
Taxonomists and Phytochemists, biotechnologists; dearth of required number of good taxonomists /
field botanists, vast array of flora with enormous infra-specific variation in taxa spread over vast
extension of the geographical boundaries of Western Ghats, incomplete knowledge of our flora and
huge cost involved in bioprospection work, etc. are some constraints. Serious and meaningful efforts
should be initiated to overcome these constraints. Complete inventorization of flora (including infra
specific diversity), training and generation of devoted field botanists and taxonomists, close interaction
of taxonomists with phytochemists, biotechnologists for successful bioprospection programmes are
certain priority agenda suggested with regard to the development of wild plant resources of Western
Western Ghats region is very rich in biological resources, which have not been satisfactorily documented
and utilized. The opportunities for inventorization and bioprospection of our flora though limitless,
several constraints like lack of trained field botanists/ ethno-botanists, lack of much needed cooperation
between field botanists and biotechnologists, apathy towards field oriented studies have become the
limiting factors. There is an urgent need to generate adequate number of taxonomists and field
botanists who have become endangered. The limited number of existing agriculture crops may not
sustain the ever increasing population in the coming decades and therefore search for
alternate/additional crops is a must. Documentation of all life support species and life saving species in
different zones of the country and their utilization can certainly help in our fight against hunger and
ailments in coming years. Therefore serious efforts are needed to initiate truly collaborative
programmes involving taxonomists and biotechnologists for Bioprospection of our resources and
product development. Conservation of our biological resources is another challenging task needing the
attention of all biological scientists. The National Biodiversity strategy and Action Plan (Singh, 2002)
rightly summarizes the course of action to be pursued for conservation of the rich flora of India. These
are outlined below which should also apply to the conservation of the rich floristic diversity of Western
Ghats i. Strengthening and increasing the effectiveness of present Protected Areas ii. Survey,
catalogue and study the threatened ecosystems and develop conservation strategies, iii. Identify and
map large forest fragments and develop methodology for management of biodiversity iv. Identify,
catalogue and study the hyper-diversity areas and develop strategies for their conservation v. Identify
over exploited species and reduce anthropogenic pressure by cultivating them vi. Develop strategies
that involve indigenous people and in benefit sharing vii. Develop regional and national biodiversity
database viii. Incorporate biodiversity concerns in Environmental Impact Assessments and in Forest
Working Plans ix. Identify and map grassland/savanna areas and develop management strategies x.
Mount a multi-tier education system for public awareness. Lastly establishment of ex-situ conservatories
and wilderness areas in every village, town, schools and colleges to accommodate the unique flora of
Western Ghats is strongly advocated for which liberal government subsidies be made available.
The author is thankful to Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi for the award of INSA
Honorary Scientist position.
Ahmedullah, M. & M.P. Nayar, 1987. Endemic plants of Indian region, Vol. 1, Peninsular India.
Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta.
Ahuja, B.S. & K.P. Singh. 1963. Ecological Studies on the humid tropics of Western Ghats, India.
Proc. Nat. Acad. Sc.
Ansari, M.Y. 1984. Asclepiadaceae – Genus Ceropegia. Fasc. Fl. India 16: 1-34.
Blasco, F. 1970. Aspects of the flora and ecology of the Savannas of the south Indian Hills. J. Bombay
Nat. Hist. Soc
. 67: 522-534.
Blasco, F. 1971. Montagnes du sud deI’nde: forets ,savanes, ecologie. Inst, Fr. Pondicherry, Trv , Sec.Sci.
tech.Tome vol. X pp436
Chandrabose M , N.C. Nair & C. Chandrasekharan. 1988. Flora of Coimbatore. Bishen Singh Mahendra
Pal Singh, Dehra Dun.
Chatterjee, D.1940. Studies on the endemic flora of India and Burma . J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 5: 19-67.
Chatterjee, D. 1962. Floristic pattern in Indian vegetation. Proc. Summer School Botany
pp 32-42. New Delhi.
Cooke, T. 1908. Flora of Presidency of Bombay, Govt. of India
Fyson, P.F. 1932. The Flora of South Indian Hill stations. Madras Govt. Press , 2 vols.
Gamble, J.S. (&C.E.C. Fischer) 1915-36. Flora of the Presidency of Madras, Adlard & Son Ltd. London.
Kammathy, R.V. 1983. Rare and endemic species of Indian Commelinaceae, in Eds. Jain, S.K. & R. R.
Rao. An Assessment of Threatened plants of India, Botanical Survey of India, Howrah: pp213-221.
Keshava Murthy, K.R. & S.N. Yoganarasimhan. 1990. The Flora of Coorg (Kodagu), Karnataka, India.
Vimsat Publishers, Bangalore.
Krishnamoorthy, K. 1960. Myristica swamps in the evergreen forests of Travancore: in Tropical moist
evergreen forest symposium
. FRI, Dehra Dun.
Manilal, K.S. 1988. Flora of Silent Valley tropical rain forest of India. Department of Science &
Manilal, K.S. 1995. Biodiversity of Silent Valley and efforts for the conservation of Tropical Rain Forests
of India. In (Ed) A. K. Pandey ‘Taxonomy and Biodiversity’. CBS Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi.
Mathew, K. M. 1981-84. The Flora of Tamil Nadu Carnatic, 3 vols. Rapinat Herbarium, Tiruchirapalli.
Mehrotra, A. & S.K. Jain. 1982. Endemism in Indian grasses – tribe Andropogoneae. Bull. Bot. Surv.
India 22: 51-58
Menon, S. & K. S. Bawa. 1997. Application of geographic information systems, remote sensing and a
landscape ecology approach to biodiversity conservation in Western Ghats. Curr. Sci. 73(2): 134-145.
Mohanan ,M. & M. Sivadasan. 2002. Flora of Agasthyamala, BSI, Calcutta
Mohanan, M & A.N. Henry . 1994. Flora of Thiruvananthapuram District BSI, Calcutta.
Myers, N.1988( and 1990) Threatened Biotas: hot spots in tropical forests, The Environmentalist 8: 1-20;
10: 243 256. 1990.
Myers, N., R. A. Mittermeier, C. G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. Fonesca, & J. Kents. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots
for conservation priorities. Nature 403: 853-858.
Nagendran, C.R. &G.D. Arekal. 1981. Studies on Indian Podostemaceae. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 23: 228-
Nair, N.C. & Henry, A.N. 1983. Flora of Tamil Nadu, India, series 1: Analysis. Botanical Survey of India,
Nair, N.C. and P. Daniel. 1986. Floristic diversity of the Western Ghats and its conservation: a review.
Proc Indian Acad. Sci. Suppl.
Nayar, M.P.1982. Endemic flora of peninsular India and its significance Bull. Bot. Surv. India 22: 12-23.
Nayar, M.P.1980. Endesim and patterns of distribution of endemic genera . J. Econ.Taxon. Bot.1: 99-
Nayar, M.P. 1996. Hot spots of endemic plants of India, Nepal and Bhutan
Pascal, J.P. 1982. Forest map of south India – sheet: Mercara-Mysore. Published by Karnataka & Kerala
forest Departments and the French Institute, Pondicherry
Pascal, J.P. 1991. Floristic composition and distribution of Evergreen forests in the Western Ghats, India.
Paalaeobotanist 39: 110-126.
Prakash, V. & S.K.Jain. 1979. Poaceae : Tribe –Garnotieae. Fasc. Fl. India 14: 1-42.
Ramaswamy S.N., M. Radhakrishana Rao & D.A. Govindappa 2001. Flora of Shimoga District,
Karnataka, Prasaranga , University of Mysore.
Ramesh, B.R. & J.P. Pascal. 1997. Atlas of the endemics of the Western Ghats (India): Distribution of tree
species in the evergreen and semi evergreen forests
. Institue Francais de Pondichery, Publications du
department d ecologie vol.38, pp403.
Ramesh, B.R. De Franceschi, D & J.P. Pascal. 1997. Forest map of south India – sheet Tirulelveli,
Published by Kerala and Tamil Nadu Forest Departments & French Institute , Pondicherry.
Rana, T.S. & S.A. Ranade 2009. The enigma of monotypic taxa and their taxonomic implications.
Curr. Sc. 96(2): 219-229.
Ramachandran, V.S. & V.J. Nair. 1988. Flora of Cannanore District, Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta.
Rao, C.K. 1972. Angiosperm genera endemic to Indian floristic and its neighbouring areas. Indian For.
Rao, R. R. 1973. Studies on Flowering plants of Mysore District, 2 vols. Ph.D. Thesis submitted to Mysore
Rao, R. R. 1984. Biodiversity in India: floristic aspects. Bishen Singh & Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun.
Rao, R. R. & Razi, B.A. 1981. A Synoptic Flora of Mysore District. Today & Tomorrows Publishers,
R. Murugan K.V. Syamasundar and B. Srinivasalu. 2006. Western Ghats, - A major Emporium
of wild Aromatic Plants: Diversity, Conservation and Bioprospection. In: N.P. Todaria, B.P. Chamola and
D.S. Chauhan (Eds.). Concepts in Forestry Research. PP. 267-278.
Rau, M.A. & B.M. Narayana.1985. A review of the tribe Vernonieae (Asteraceae) in south India. Bull.
Bot. Surv. India
Saldanha, C.J. 1984. The Flora of Karnataka, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi.
Saldanha, C. J . & Nicolson, D.H. 1976. Flora of Hassan District, Karnataka, India, Amerind publishers,
Santapau, H. 1951. Acanthaceae of Bombay, Bot. Mem. Univ. Bombay, No.2: 1-104.
Sharma, B.D., Singh, N.P., Raghavan, R.S. & U. R. Deshpande 1984. Flora of Karnataka : Analysis,
Botanical Survey of India, Howrah.
Singh, J.S. ((Co-Ordinator) 2002. National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan ( Natural Terrestrial
– a report submitted to Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi.
Singh, N.P. D.K. Singh, P.K. Haajra & B.D. Sharma. 2000. Flora of India (Introductory Vol., Part II)
Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata
Subramanyam, K. and Nayar, M.P. 1974. Vegetation and Phytogeography of the Western Ghats; in Ed.
M.S. Mani ,Ecology and biogeography in India, the Hague, Dr. W. Junk publishers
Yoganarasimhan, S.N. 1996. Medicinal Plants of India, Vol. 1, Karnataka. Interline publishing, Bangalore,
Dehra Dun, Michigan.
Yoganarasimhan, S.N. 2000. Medicinal Plants of India, Vol .2, Tamil Nadu, R. R. I, Bangalore
Yoganarasimhan, S.N., Subramanyam, K & Razi, B.A. 1981. Flora of Chickamagalur District, Karnataka,
India, International Book Distributors, Dehra Dun.