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The Flora of the Palni Hills, South India (3 Vols-Set)

K.M. Matthew, Rapinat Herbarium, 1999, xcvi, 1880 p, 3 vols, figs, maps, ISBN : 8190053930, $193.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Part one : Polypetalae: Dedication. Preface. Novelties in this Flora. Precursory or related publications. References. Introduction. I. The Palni hills: 1. Location and physical features. 2. Kodaikanal: taluk and town. 3. Rivers. 4. Roads. 5. Table 2: Gazetteer of localities. 6. Climatic conditions at Kodaikanal. 7. Geology and soils. 8. History. 9. The vegetation: A. Native; B. Alien. 10. References. II. Plant explorations on the Palnis: 1. Past explorations: 1. The Bournes. 2. The Fysons. 3. The Shembaganur team. 4. Natural History Centre at Shembaganur (SHC). 5. Recent explorations. 6. References. 2. Present exploration: 1. Background and scope. 2. Field trip report. 3. Phytogeographical findings. 4. Ethnobotany. 5. Nature conservation. 3. The present Flora: Format and conventions. Acknowledgments. Family sequence. Key to families. Dicotyledones: I. Polypetalae: 1. Ranunculaceae. 2. Alangiaceae.

Part two: II. Gamopetalae: 1. Caprifoliaceae. 2. Labiatae. III. Monochlamvdeae: 1. Plantaginaceae. 2. Salicaceae.

Part three: I. Monocotyledones: 1. Orchidaceae. 2. Gramineae. II. Gymnospermae: 1. Gnetaceae. 2. Cycadaceae. Appendix: 1. Cultivated plants. 2. I. Field itineraries on the Palnis. II. Summary of field work. 3. Abbreviations of titles of books (TL-2). 4. Abbreviations of titles of periodicals (B-P-H). 5. Journals at RHT library. 6. Germination data on shola species of the Palni hills. Indexes: 1. Scientific names. 2. English names. 3. Tamil names.

This 3-part text of the Flora of the Palni hills (c. 2,500 species) completes the author's efforts for quarter of a century (1976-1999) at achieving a critical, illustrated Flora of Tamilnadu State, in two phases. This is the second phase: the montane counterpart of phase one that covered the lowlands. The Palni hills, part of the western ghats of India and one among the 25 biodiversity hotspots of the planet, are a marker zone: changes in plant population dynamics, especially stress on, or extinction of, indigenous species, over a short period here are a true indication of what is happening in larger areas over longer periods. This Flora provides an accurate knowledge of the component species, with emphasis on the conservation status of those under stress.

Some salient features may be noted. (1) Original study of ample material, both from new exploration (323 field days, 14,907 new collections), as also from former collections in herbaria in India and Kew, all cited in the text; that 29% of the species are aliens that needed international assistance for accurate determination, is a special feature. (2) Nomenclature updated in the light of current work. (3) Use of an international style of citation of books (TL-2) and periodicals (B-P-H) (Appendices III & IV). (4) 1,223 full-page, detailed illustrations complementing those of phase one, so that over 95% of the included species have been illustrated. (5) Comprehensive field notes in a comparable, 2-para format throughout. (6) Original information on the conservation status of plants under stress; Appendix VI with germination data for 255 of the native shola species is a valuable feature.

"It is hoped that this work will efficiently serve the incoming century as did Fyson's South Indian hill Floras (1915-1932) during the outgoing one." (jacket)

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