Tamil Nadu tops list of endemic flowering plants

Oct 3, 2016 11:16 IST

Botanical Survey of India (BSI) in the last week of September 2016 announced that almost one of every four species of flowering plants found in India is endemic to the country. Of these, Tamil Nadu garners the highest number of species with 410.

Tamil Nadu is followed by Kerala with 357 and Maharashtra with 278.

September CA eBook

Key highlights

As per scientific data in a recently released book, Endemic Vascular Plants of India, of the 18259 flowering plants reported in the country, 4303 are found only in India.

When it comes to the geographical distribution of endemic plants, the Western Ghats tops the list with about 2116 species, followed by the Eastern Himalayas with 466 species.

At least 37 species of Black plum Syzyguim (Jamun), 10 varieties of Musa (banana), along with 274 species of orchids are found only in India.

Four different varieties of roses, two herbs and two climbers and 12 species of jasmines are exclusively found in India.

When it comes to spices, 45 species belong to the common black pepper family, 19 species of ginger and 13 different kinds of large cardamom.

There are also 40 species of bamboos, which are endemic to India.

Further some of these endemic species are restricted to only certain areas of the country, like Nepenthes khasiana, an insectivorous plant only found in the Khasi hills of Meghalaya.

A total of 58 generea of flowering plants have been found to be endemic to India.

As far as endemism regarding vascular plants in India is concerned, the publication reveals that of the 19635 vascular plants found in the country, 4381 are endemic. This includes 4303 angiosperms or flowering plants, 12 gymnosperms and 66 ferns and fern allies which come under the group Pteridophytes.

Among the most widely exploited endemic plants in country is Pterocarpus santalinus, commonly known as red sandal wood, which is found only in the southern parts of the Eastern Ghats. This plant is classified as critically endangered under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) category.

About Botanical Survey of India

The Botanical Survey of India is an institution set up by the Government of India in 1890 to survey the plant resources of the Indian empire.

The Botanical Survey was formally instituted on 13 February 1890 under the direction of Sir George King, who had been superintendent of Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta since 1871.

King was the first ex-officio Director of BSI.

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