Endemic Species

There are about 1272 species of endemic angiosperms out of 3800 species occurring in Kerala, which is 33.5% of its flora. Out of 5725 endemics in India, endemics of Kerala constitute 22.6% of Indian endemics. The endemic flora in Kerala is mainly palaeotropic in composition, which is a part of the peninsular Indian endemic flora of Gondwanaland origin. Though there are common elements, the characteristic endemic flora of Kerala and Sri Lanka was developed from a common stock, but isolated due to temporal or geographical barriers. The hill top flora of Nilgiris, Palani and Cardamom hills in peninsular India and Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka show similarities, which indicate that they are derived from a common stock. Three 'hot spots' of endemic centres in Kerala are: Agasthyamala, Anamalai- high ranges and Silent Valley- Wayanad.

There are about 189 endemic plant species reported from Agasthyamala and they occur in small populations over narrow ranges. The recent surveys have resulted in the discovery of 35 new species of plants from this small stretch of forests.

The endemic genera of Anamalai and High Ranges are Haplothismia, Pseudoglochidion and Utleria. The species which are critically endangered or probably extinct are Anaphalis barnesii, Begonia aliciae, Didymocarpus macrostachya, Habenaria flabelliformis, Impatiens anaimudica, I. johnii, I. macrocarpa, I. platyadena, I. verecunda, Ophiorrhiza barnesii, O. caudata, O. munnarensis and Sonerila nemakadensis.

The five endemic genera occurring in the Silent Valley- Wayanad region are: Chandrasekharania, Baeolepis, Kanjarum, Meteoromyrtus, and Silentvalleya.