Read about the flora of Goa, India.
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Goa Tourism : Goa Travel Guide : Flora in Goa

Flora In Goa

Flora In GoaWith 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:

» High Value:
Dalbergia latifolia, Ster-culia foetida, Tectona grandis, Thesp-esia populnea, Acacia catechu.

» Medium Value:
Aegle marmelos, Albizzia lebbek, Artocarpus intergri-plia, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Miche-lia champaca, Pterocarpus marsupium, Terminalia olata, Terminalia Arjuna, Terminalia paniculata, Xylia dolarbri-formis.

» Average Value:
Adina cordifolia, Bridelia retusa, Gmelina arborea lan-nea grandis, Polyalthia fragrans, Sal-malia malabarica.

» Low Value:
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 semi-evergreen trees.

Flora In GoaOn 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 grown.

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.

In 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 village.

Medical Plants
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 period.
Goa has other types of plant life which could broadly be categorized thus:
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.

Name

Useful for treatment of

Alstonia scholaris

Ulcers, dyspepsia, skin diseases, liver problems.

Cassia fistula

Paralysis, rheumatism, skin diseases, diabetes, "Black water" fever.

Ficus religiasa

scabies, cracked /inflammed soles of feet.

Magnifera indica

Bleeding piles, diptheria, skin disease.

Mimosa pudica

Kidney disorders, piles, fistular sores, urinary diseases, abscesses.

Piper nigrum

Dyspepsia, vertigo, coma, sore throat parapytic affection, alopacia and urticaria.

Tectona grandis

Dyspepsia, heartburn, headache, diuresis skin itch.

Terminalia chebula

Mild laxative, enlarged spleen, urinary disorders, intestinal worms.

Tinospora cordifolia

Rheumatism, biliousness, spermatorrhoea, jaundice, bone fractures.

Zizyphus jujuba

Boils, abscesses, inflammation of gums, mild laxative, expectorant.

Vitex negundo

Catarrhal fever, rheumatism, enlarged spleen, sprains, inflammatory swellings of joints, cholera an haemorrhages.

Accacia arabica

Treatment of gonorrhoea, vaginal diseases, dysentry, bleeding from bites of leeches; and also as an expectorant.

Strychnos nux vomica

Debility, worms, hysteria, mental emotions, insomnia, spasmodic diseases, sexual impotence and bronchitis.

Erythrina indica

Round worms, tape worms, thread worms, toothache, rheumatic pains, eye diseases.



 
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