The Grass Diversity of Vagamon Hills in Kerala
Grasses contribute tremendously to the earthÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s green mantle of vegetation. They are one of the most widely distributed groups of angiosperms with gross morphological complexity. Among flowering plants Gramineae, with their 10,000 species and 620 genera is the fourth largest family of the flowering plants. They owe their importance in the plant kingdom not so much to their multiplicity of species as to their ability to flourish and spread quickly in great areas of low rainfall. Many are cultivated as cereal crops, as ornamentals and as plants of medicinal and industrial importance. Grasslands form an important vegetation type in the high ranges of Western Ghats in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, mostly between 1000-2200 m above msl. The species diversity is extremely high in grassland-forest margins that are very frequent in south Indian forest vegetation especially along Nilgiri and Anamalai - High Ranges. The grasslands of South India, especially Vagamon hills are represented as centre of Endemism due to their exceptional bio-diversity. There are 77 species of grasses recognized from the Vagamon hills. Out of the 77 Species of grasses 18 are endemic to Peninsular India. 25 Species of grasses recognized as exotic alien Species in the study area. Also this research has focused on the ecological environment of the study area.