ENDEMIC PLANT DIVERSITY IN SELECTED SACRED GROVES OF KANNUR DISTRICT, KERALAK. Subrahmanya Prasad and K. Raveendran
Sacred groves are one of the finest examples of traditional in situ conservation practices and act as treasure house of endemic, endangered and rare plants. Endemic species of any geographical region, throw light on the biogeography of the area, areas of extinction and evolution of the flora. Six famous sacred groves of Kannur district were selected for study. Studies were aimed at the documentation of floristic diversity with special reference to endemic plants and to know threats to them. The vascular flora of the studied groves comprises 341 species belonging to 265 genera distributed among 99 families, with 329 angiosperms, 11 Pteridophytes and Gnetum ula Brongn. Major attraction are the presence of 48 endemic (14.1%), 80 edible (23.5%), 269 medicinal (78.9%) and 7 critically endangered plants. Only 10 plants are common to all the groves while among endemic plants only three show common presence, making them an important gene pool. The percentage of endemic plants ranges from a minimum of 11 in Andallur to a maximum of 18.1 in Edayilakkad.
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