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Friday, January 27, 2012

nilgiri langur feeding on Mallotus tetracoccus

Gomphia serrata

Small trees up to 5 m tall. Distributed through out the Indo-malayan region. Found in secondary forests and in the margins of evergreen forest and in open formations up to 1200m. this specimen has been collected from my homestead at Calicut, Kerala at an altitude of 60 m above MSL. The bitter roots and leaves are used against stomach complaints. The twigs are used against toothache.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Aeginetia peduculata

Aeginetia pedunculata is a common total root parasite in grass lands and sugarcane fields. They can cause considerable economic losses in sugarcane fields, if get unchecked. Present picture was taken from the grass land at Chembra peak (2000m above MSL), Wayanad.

(picture courtesy : Dr. K. Sudhakara, Professor, K.A.U., Kerala)

Balanophora -root parasite

Balanophora is a genus containing holo root parasites (total parasites). They are often seen on forest floors without any green leaf systems and the plants are attached to the host root system through haustoria. plant families like Orobanchaceae, Ericaceae, Hydnoraceae and Monotropaceae are also composed exclusively of parasitic plants. Orobanchaceae is common in Western Ghats with species like Aeginetia pedunculata and Aeginetia indica distributed through out the grasslands and forests. Cistanche tubulosa is the common Orobanch species in India.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

upland paddy cultivation

Upland rice is normally cultivated in the space available in coconut farms and other upland farm area near the houses. upland rice was cultivated in Kerala during the start of monsoon and now this practice has became very rare. this picture has been taken from my homestead. 

chembra peak, meppadi

Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad district of Kerala, at 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) above MSL. Chembra is located in Meppady range of South wayanad forest division and is 8 km south of Kalpetta. Chembra peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. trekking is Permissible with the consent of forest department. This hill range habours rare species of flora including Malabar Daffodil Orchid (Ipsea malabarica ).


The genus Strobilanthes, having over 300 species within South / South-east Asia, has speciated and diversified in the hill ranges of Western Ghats. This genus has over half of world’s species in India. The hill ranges of peninsular India have 59 species. There are altogether 43 species of Strobilanthes known from the state of Kerala. Of these, 38 are endemic to Peninsular India. The most popular character of Strobilanthes is its monocarpic nature and they flower after a long period of vegetative growth ranging from 1-15 years and some rare species produce flowers even after 35 years.Famous among this genus is Strobilanthes kunthianus.

Angiopteris evecta

Angiopteris evecta, commonly known as the Giant Fern is a large fern distributed through out the Indo-malayan region, Polynesia,Melanesia Micronesia, Australia,Fiji, New Guinea and Guam.Angiopteris evecta is cultivated worldwide as an ornamental fern. Also, its starchy rhizomes are sometimes eaten or used to perfume coconut oil.

elaeocarpus tuberculatus

This plant is locally known as Badraksham and is a wild relative of the much known rudraksham (Elaeocarpus ganitrus). this plant is distributed through out the wet regions of the western ghat and are charcterised with Tall trunks up to 40 m with plank buttresses and horizontal branching pattern as in Badam plant (Terminalia catappa).Young leaves are reddish and seeds are elliptic-oblong compressed deeply, unlike the Rudraksham.

anthocephalus chinensis-inflorescenece

Also known as Neolamarckia cadamba, this evergreen tree will grow upto 45 m highwith a broad crown and straight cylindrical bole. this plant is locally known as "kadam" or "Kadambu". Mythical story narrates that after Parasurama created the Haiga and Tulu countries, Shiva and Parvati came to Sahyadri, and there a child was born to the divine couple. Since the birth took place under a Kadamba tree, the child was named Kadamba, and was placed in charge of the Sahyadri region. Mayursharma belonged to this family and he made Banavasi his capital.It is also considered the Tree of Buddhism, and was thought to reunite separated lovers.The caterpillars of the Commander butterfly (Limenitis procris)use this species as a food plant. The fruit and inflorescences are reportedly edible to humans.


Lagenandra is a genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family. It consists of 16 species of plants that are endemic to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India. they grows in marshy places with shallow running water. they are used as ornamental plants in aquariums.

dysphania percota (caterpillar) on carallia brachiata

The Blue Tiger Moth (Dysphania percota) is a moth of the Geometridae family. beautifully coloured larvae feeds exclusively on Carallia brachiata (Vallabham) leaves. Dysphania is a day flying moth. This picture has been taken from botanical garden K.A.U, Kerala.

Toona ciliata

Known as Toon or Indian Mahogany or Indian cedar, Toona ciliata is a fast growing tree in the Meliaceae family which grows throughout southern Asia from Afghanistan to Papua New Guinea and Australia.It is locally known as "chandanavembu". it is deciduous in nature with a spreading crown, attaining a height of 20-30 m. Toona ciliata is grown as shade trees in cash crop plantations. its timber is used in match box and plywood industries. medicinal uses have also been reported for this species.

vernonia arborea

commonly known as Karana or Malanperuva, Vernonia arborea is medium sized tree attaining a height of 15-20m. this tree is occasionally seen along the margin of evergreen forest of western ghats and Indomalayan region up to 1900m. Timber of this species is used as firewood or for light indoor construction. Mixture of leaves is used to make a tonic for women after childbirth. this tree flowers profusely and attracts large colonies of honey bees. Annoyed by the presence of honeybees Elephants often try to uproot the trees .
Poovankurinjila (Vernonia cineraria) is a well known medicinal plant coming under this genus

syzygium munronii

Commonly known as Ilambili or Njara, Syzygium munronii is a small sized tree growing upto 8m in height.Leaves are simple, opposite,lanceolate and apex gradually long acuminate. They are understorey trees in wet evergreen forests of western ghats between 800 and 1400 m. flowers are white or pink. Edible fruits are greenish pink or pink after ripening

polygonum riparium

They are prostate herbaceous perennial plants growing to 0.5–1.5 m tall. This species grows near riverbanks and lake shores. they grow profusely like a weed and flowers massively. this photo has been taken from Gavi, Kerala.

Prunus ceylanica

Known as Attanaripongu or Naikambagam in local language, Prunus ceylanica is a large sized evergreen tree attaining 25 m height. Its is originated in tropical Asia and is distributed in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. This species has been "wrongly" classified as ENDANGERED by IUCN citing the reason that the species has been reported only from three localities in Sri Lanka

Prunus ceylanica

Known as Attanaripongu or Naikambagam in local language, Prunus ceylanica is a large sized evergreen tree attaining 25 m height. Its is originated in tropical Asia and is distributed in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. This species has been "wrongly" classified as ENDANGERED by IUCN citing the reason that the species has been reported only from three localities in Sri Lanka

Nageia wallichiana

Nageia wallichiana is the only Gymnosperm tree species found in South India. It is a tall tree and can reach up to 54 m in height. This species is also found in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. In Western Ghats it is a rare species and found in the Periyar plateau (upto agasthyamala) and in Anamalai region. Present specimen has been collected from Kadalar (end of Rajamala hills), near Munnar.

goniothalamus wightii

litsea floribunda

Medium sized (10-15 m tall) evergreen trees commonly found in the evergreen forests of western ghats at elevations from 500-1800 m.


The genus Impatiens(Balsams) is the largest genera of angiosperms in the world (and also in western ghats) with over 1000 species worldwide.In India there are over 203 species of impatiens and about 82 species have been reported from Kerala. Nearly 60% of the species found in Kerala are endemic

Ensete superbum

Ensete superbum is called as Kallu vazha (rock banana) in local language. it is distributed through out western ghats and also seen in Rajasthan. This plant is known for its medicinal properties and is used for treating diabetics, kidney stone, bladder stone etc. Seeds are used for the propagation of this plant.

diospyros nilagirica

Commonly known as Karinthuvara D.nilagirica is a medium sized tree endemic to western Ghats and are seen in In wet evergreen forests generally at 800 to 1600 m. it is frequent between Periyar Region to Anamalai in South Sahyadri and rarely found in Palakkad Hills and Coorg Region of Central Sahyadri. This picture has been taken from periyar, Kerala.

Debregeasia longifolia

Locally known as Kattunochi or Njandumutta, this is a large shrub or small tree commonly seen through out the western ghats along the margins of evergreen and secondary forests upto 1800m MSL. This species has a distribution through out the Indo-malayan region.

Cullenia exarillata -seed

Locally known as Vediplavu, Cullenia is one of the keystone species of the Western Ghats. Their flowers and fruits serve as food for many of the rainforest species including the Lion-tailed Macaque. This large evergreen tree can grow upto 40 m in height. they are common canopy trees in medium elevation wet evergreen forests between 600-1400 m. this species is seen through out the southern western ghats and upto wayanad in the central region.

king cobra

The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the world's longest venomous snake. Ophiophagus is a Greek derived word which means "snake-eater" and its diet consists primarily of other snakes, including ratsnakes.Snake in the picture was caught from the labour lanes of a tea estate in Begur range (wayanad district) and was later relocated. rat population near human habitation attract rat snakes which will in turn attracts King cobra. Wet and thick evergreen forests of Begur and Periya are ideal breeding grounds for king cobras.

king cobra mature

A mature male king cobra caught from the labour lanes of the tea estate in Begur. This male weighed nearly 7.5 Kg. It was later relocated to periya forests.

begur forest

shola-grassland begur


Callicarpa tomentosa

Large shrubs or small trees upto 5 m tall. Common along the margins of disturbed evergreen and semi-evergreen forest of western ghats up to 1400 m. This plant is commonly known as Nai-thekku or Thin perivellam. Brown hairs are clothed over its branches and leaves gave the name tomentosa.

Ardisia solanacea

Ardisia solanacea is native to Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and West China. It grows in moist ravines and in the understorey of evergreen to semi-evergreen forests. Ardisia Solanacea is a 1.5 to 6 meters high evergreen shrub or small tree. The thick branches are usually colored red. The bark is smooth and brown. The glabrous leaves are inversely lanceolate, obovate-elliptical or elongated, they are 7.5 to 17 cm long and 2.5 to 7 cm wide. The inflorescences are in axillary, corymb-like racemes, The petal is pale mauve to dark pink in colour. this picture has been taken from Wayandu, kerala. but in fact highest density of this species has been found in the Maredumilli forests of East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. 

Ardisia solanacea

gymnacranthera canarica

cyclea peltata

tiliacora acuminata