Flora In Goa
Goa holding a notable position in the tourist map of India, there is
perhps a natural tendency to look at Goa merely in terms of it being a
“Tourist Paradise” – and, in turn overlook other areas where nature has
made a significant contribution to Goa’s natural wealth e.g. Plant life,
Birds, Animals, Forests etc.
An excellent combination of tropical climate, relatively high humidity,
fertile soil, inland lakes and rivers coupled with a natural drainage
system literally presents to Goa lush greenery, overgreen and
semi-evergreen forests which as a consequence, become obvious and
natural habitats for birds, animals, insects and reptiles.
Goa's wet evergreen forests generally occupy about 250 sq. km. which
are found in different areas in deep ravines and steep hills. These
forests are mainly on the eastern border of Goa, close to the steep,
rocky slopes of the Western Ghats. With these regions receiving heavy
rainfall, the soils are shallow since they tend to be easily eroded.
During the pre Liberation period, the Portuguese kepts these forests as
'A' class classified ones for purposes of soil conservation and
regulation of water flows. Also, these areas being somewhat
inaccessible and coupled with high elevation and rocky territory, the
wet evergreen forests had lowvalue timber content; although, as
suggested earlier, they did contribute to Goa's scenic beauty. Among
these Goan wet evergreens, only two really could be termed as
'gregarious species' viz. Syzgium cumini and Mimusops elegi.
In their virgin state, Goa's moist deciduous forests include
leaf-shedding species, teak and bamboos,
the latter being an excellent source of long-fibre material for pulp.
Essentially, these forests can be classified into four categories viz.
(1) High value (2) Medium value (3) Average value and (4) Low value
timber. Under this broad classification, Goa has several species of
Moist Deciduous Forests thus:
Dalbergia latifolia, Ster-culia foetida, Tectona grandis, Thesp-esia
populnea, Acacia catechu.
Aegle marmelos, Albizzia lebbek, Artocarpus intergri-plia, Lagerstroemia
parviflora, Miche-lia champaca, Pterocarpus marsupium, Terminalia olata,
Terminalia Arjuna, Terminalia paniculata, Xylia dolarbri-formis.
Adina cordifolia, Bridelia retusa, Gmelina arborea lan-nea grandis,
Polyalthia fragrans, Sal-malia malabarica.
Acacia arabica, Ficus glomerata, Ficus indica, Growia tilaefo-lia,
Tamarindus indica, Terminalia belerica.
During the time of the Portuguese rule, 400 forest out of a total of
nearly 800 sq.km. of moist deciduous forest had been classified as
teak-bearing areas and treated as being available for commercial timber
sales. However, despite the absence of user-rights, considerable
illegal, unsupervised over-cutting took place resulting in considerable
damage to these forests, leaving behind stumps and malformed trees.
Added to this, were the dumping of mining waste which contributed to the
degradation of these forests. In this context it should be mentioned
that the wood-cutter's axe mainly fell on the high and medium value
species had tended to avoid the average and low value species, mainly
because of their having little or no market value: obviously, it was not
worth the woodcutter's while to tamper with the medium and low value
species of Goa's moist deciduous forests.
The Western Ghats have
the greatest divert of plant life, including areas of jungle (which can
be seen around Dudhsagar Falls and Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary),
The vegetation here is, for the most part, tropical evergreen, although
there evergreen although there are large areas of cane & bamboo and
On the lower slopes of the Ghats, thinner, dry soil supports lateritic
semi-evergreen forests. In many places (for example, Cotigao wildlife
Sanctuary) the arid nature of the leads to savanna like vegetation.
In the less dry patches of the lower slopes, imbers such as teak are
In the midland region the lateritic rock is
Extremely close to the surface and the soil is too thin in many places
to support much more grass and scrub. Where possible, cashu trees a
significant cash crop which withstand the hot dry conditions, have been
laid out in large plantations.
the folds between the hills, however, where there is shade and
springs are to be found, the small valleys are often extremely fertile.
Here, centuries-old methods are still followed in the cultivation of
spices and fruits. Coconut palms are cultivated not only for the nuts
and toddy (sap that is collected, fermented and distilled), but also to
give shade to the less hardy trees.
Beneath the canopy of the coconut palms and mango trees, the tall,
slender areca nut palms (which provide betel nuts for paan – a mixture
chewed for its mildly intoxicating effect and as a digestive) are grown.
These shelter an incredible variety of fruits trees and spice plants,
ranging from pineapples to bananas, and pepper to cinnamon. Although
many of these plants are indigenous to Goa, other were introduced by the
Portuguese, including rubber trees, Pineapples and chillies.
The coastal region has a similarly wide range of flora. The saline
conditions support a substantial area of mangroves (estimated at a total
area of 20 sq km).
Along the coast, coconut plams, perhaps the most useful of all trees
grown in Goa, predominate. Another distinctive feature in the area is
the large banyan trees that often provide a shady meeting spot in each
Goa is a region which is rich in medicinal plants. The Gazetteer of
India relating to the then Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu (1979
edition) lists no less than 57 different medicinal plants that grow in
Goa. The following table gives an illustrative list of the medicinal
plants of Goa and the wide variety of diseases for which they are useful
when medical treatment is to be given: In addition to the medicinal
plants which Goa has,
she also plants that produce tanning barks and also fibres and flosses.
And with such a wide range of medicinal and other useful plants, several
companies especially the pharmaceutical ones mainly based in Bombay (Maharashtra
State) have devoted some of their funds and attention for the
development of these plants of Goa, especially after the post-Liberation
Goa has other types of plant life which could broadly be categorized
Estuarine vegetation of mangrove along swampy river banks, strand and
Greek vegetation along the coastal belt, Plateau vegetation along
undulating terrain and foothills, open scrub jungle, moist deciduous
forests which are found around Tudal, Ordpfond, But-pal, Molem, Codal,
Ambiche Gol never Valpoi and/Anmode ghat, semi-evergreen and evergreen
vegetation along the upper ghats, evergreen forests, hydrophites, the
free floating as well as marshy plants, grasslands in the plains of Goa,
economic and medicinal plants which include timber and the medicinal
plants which were briefly described earlier. The grasslands of Goa
harbour have economic fodder grasses while the medicinal plants also
include Rauvolfia ser-pentina, Rubia cordifolia, Gloriosa su-perba and
many other such medicinal plants.
Useful for treatment of
skin diseases, liver problems.
rheumatism, skin diseases, diabetes, "Black water" fever.
scabies, cracked /inflammed
soles of feet.
diptheria, skin disease.
piles, fistular sores, urinary diseases, abscesses.
coma, sore throat parapytic affection, alopacia and urticaria.
headache, diuresis skin itch.
enlarged spleen, urinary disorders, intestinal worms.
biliousness, spermatorrhoea, jaundice, bone fractures.
inflammation of gums, mild laxative, expectorant.
rheumatism, enlarged spleen, sprains, inflammatory swellings of
joints, cholera an haemorrhages.
gonorrhoea, vaginal diseases, dysentry, bleeding from bites of
leeches; and also as an expectorant.
Strychnos nux vomica
hysteria, mental emotions, insomnia, spasmodic diseases, sexual
impotence and bronchitis.
Round worms, tape
worms, thread worms, toothache, rheumatic pains, eye diseases.
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