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.

Malabar Myristica Swamp Forest

These dense evergreen forests appear to be restricted to valleys in the tropical evergreen zones of Travancore where they typically form a fringe along slow moving streams on sandy alluvium. They can reach heights of up to 30 m with species such as Carallia brachiata Lagerstroemia speciosa, Laphopetalum wightianum, Myristica magnifica and the endemic Myristica malabarica (Myristicaceae) dominating the canopy and sub canopy. Most of the trees have clean, slender boles. Pandanus represents one of the main shrub layer groups, but it also includes the endemic shrub Nilgirianthus barbatus (Acanthaceae). Species of Calamus appear to dominate the climbers, while the undergrowth is mainly composed of aroids and scitaminae.

Malabar (Wet) Grasslands

In Kerala grasslands are largely found at altitudes above 1500 m. In Anamalai region (Eravikulam and Munnar) the grass layer is usually less than 1 m and mainly represented by Andropogon foulkesii, Anthistiria ciliata, Arundinaria villosa, Bothriochloa pertusa, Chrysopogon orientalis, Eragrostis nigra, Heteropogon contortus, Tripogon bromoides, Zenkeria elegans and species of Arundinella, Cymbopogon, Eulalia, Isachne and Themeda. Common herbaceous species include Campanula fulgens, Crotalaria notonii, Indigofera pedicellata, Justicia simplex, Knoxia mollis, Leucas suffruticosa, Lilium neilgherrense, Oldenlandia articularis Polygala sibirica, Striga asiatica, Viola patrinii and Wahlenbergia gracilis, but in the more swampy areas species such as Centella asiatica, Drosera peltata and Fimbristylis uliginosa predominate. Typical shrubby elements are Berberis tinctoria, Gaultheria frangrantissima, Hypericum mysorense, Lobelia excelsa, Oldenlandia stylosa, Osbeckia wightianum, Pteridium aquiilnum, Rubus fairholmianus, Phlebophyllum kunthianus and the endemic Rhododendron arboreum var. nilagiricum may occur in the form of small tree. Grasslands below 1800 m that are mainly interspersed with evergreen forests often characterized by Briedelia crenulata, Careya arborea, Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula and Wendlandia thrysoidea.  The grasses here are usually tall reaching heights of up to 1.5 m.  Common taxa include Agrostis peninsularis, Androprogon lividus, Arundinella purpurea, Chrysopogon zeylanicus, Eulalia phaeothrix, Heteropogon contortus, Ischaemum indicum, Sehima nervosum, Tripogon bromoides and species of Eulalia and Themeda. Intermixed with the grasses are shrubs such as the monocarpic Phlebophyllum kunthianum and herbs of the genera Crotalaria, Desmodium, Hypericum, Knoxia, Leucas, Lobelia and Osbeckia.

Malabar Rivers

River in the Malabar zone provide habitat for two endemic water plants, Griffithella hookeriana and Willisia selaginoides, both belonging to the unusual aquatic family Podostemaceae.


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