Flowering Plants of Kerala: status and statistics

T. S. Nayar M. Sibi, A. Rasiya Beegam, N. Mohanan and G. Rajkumar

Published on : 31-Mar-2009

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.22244/rheedea.2008.18.02.06


This paper provides a preliminary analysis of the flowering plants of Kerala based on 1303 publications appeared until 2008 The state harbours 4694 species under 1 41 8 genera and 1 88 families (s.l.). Of these, 4078 are indigenous, 199 are exotic naturalised, and 417 are cultivated or planted. Of the 4078 indigenous species, 1568 are endemic to lndia and of these, 865 are endemic to the Western Ghats. Of the 865 Western Ghats endemics, 237 species are endemic to Kerala. This includes two monotypic genera, Silentvalleya and Haplothismia, About 5% of the flora come under one or other IUCN red list category. Of all the life forms, herbs constitute more than 50% of the flora, and shrubs and trees 15% each. Continent wise analysis shows that 389 species found in Kerala share their distribution with Australia, 442 species with Africa, 31 species with E u rope, 1 90 species with America and 2194 species with different countries in Asia. There are 115 species common to Kerala and South East Asia. Sri Lanka and Malaysia together share 26 species with Kerala and 1866 species share their distribution with Sri Lanka, out of which 538 are exclusively common to Peninsular lndia and Sri Lanka. Kerala constitutes only 1.18% of the geographical area of lndia but it accommod ates 27.57% of the flowering plants occurring in the country. lt has been found that 170 species possess established medicinal properties. Absence of a comprehensive Flora dealing with all the flowering plants of the state is the major gap; nearly 8% of the flora are not represented in any of the lndian herbaria and illustrations of 35% of the species are not available. The analysis is supported with 12 figures and two appendices.