Included here are the western coastal plains (Malabar or Karala Coast) of Peninsula India from the southern vicinities of Broach to Cape Comorin, and the western side of the Western Ghats (Malabar Hills) including the Anamalai, Cardamom, Nilgiri and Palni hills.

Tropical evergreen forests constitute the climax vegetation of Kerala characterized by at least three tiers, the highest often attaining a height of 40-45 m. Many species develop plank buttresses. The middle stratum is more or less candle shaped and the lower characteristically conical. Buttressing and fluting are common. These forests represent the most important vegetation between altitudes of about 600 and 1100 m, while under favorable conditions with regard to as availability of shelter and moisture; they can extend to elevations of 1200 m or so. However, they generally require an annual rainfall of more than 2000 mm, temperatures between 15°-30°C and humidity between 70 -100%. The upper storey consists chiefly of Artocarpus heterophyllus, Bischofia javanica, Calophyllum elatum, Canarium strictum, Cullenia exarillata, Drypetes elata, Mesua ferrea, Persea macrantha, Poeciloneuron indicum, Polyalthia coffeoides, Vateria Indica and the endemic Dysoxylum malabaricum (Meliaceae), Elaeocarpus tuberculatus (Elaeocarpaceae), Holigarna arnottiana, H. grahamii, (family?)and Palaquium ellipticum (Sapotaceae). The second storey is characterized by species such as Aglaia elaeagnoidea, Actinodaphne hookeri, Baccaurea courtallensis, Dimocarpus longan, Elaeocarpus serratus, Garcinia morella, Gomphandra polymorpha, Litsea wightiana, Meliosma pinnata, Myristica dactyloides, Oreocnide integrifolia and the endemic Cinnamomum malabaricum (Lauraceae)attaining heights of 15 to 30 m. The third storey, which is usually less than 15 m, consists of small trees like Agrostistachys meeboldii, Euonymus angulatus, Memecylon sisparense, Syzygium munroii, Syzygium laetum, Xanthophyllum flavescens the endemic Turpinia malabarica (Staphyleaceae)and a profusion of shrubs like Dendrocnide sinuata, Sarcococca brevifolia, Solanum surattense, Thottea siliquosa and many others. Monocots are few in number and typically have localized distributions. Important species include Calamus gamblei, Pandanus furcatus, Pinanga dicksonii, Ochlandra travancorica, O. rheedii and the endemic Arenga wightii and Calamus thwaitesii (Arecaceae).At ground level, herbs like Elettaria cardamomum and species of Amorphophallus and Hackeria are common together with various ferns. Climbers like Pothos scandens, Caesalpinia bonduc and many species of Piper are also common. The epiphytic flora is rich and many of the trees are heavily infested with epiphytic orchids, aroids, mosses, and ferns. These forests are also storehouses of medicinal plants (about 180 species) and support many wild relatives of cultivated plants. About 25% of the forests of Kerala belong to this category with the forests of Silent Valley National Park and Periyar tiger reserve represents some of the richest stands.


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