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Types of Soil in Kerala

closeup of dried out brown soil image by Victor B from

According to, Kerala soils are generally acidic, kaolintic and low in CEC. Kerala soils have a small water-holding capacity, and are high in phosphate. The soils in Kerala have eight different classifications: red loam, laterite coastal alluvium, riverine alluvium, Onattukara alluvium, brown hydrmorphic, saline hydromorphic, Kuttanad alluvium, black soil and forest loam.

Red Loam

According to, “Red loams of Kerala are localized in occurrence and are found mostly in the southern parts of Thiruvananthapuram district.” Found primarily in the foothills and small hillocks, red loam soil is red in color, making it easy to notice.


According to, the surface soil of laterite soil is reddish brown to yellowish red in color. The texture of laterite soil is mostly gravel.

Coastal Alluvium

Found on the West coast of Kerala, coastal alluvium has a sandy texture. According to, coastal alluvium developed from aquatic deposits.

Riverine Alluvium

Riverine soils are deep soils found along the banks and rivers of Kerala. According to, the surface texture ranges from sandy to clay.

Onattukara Alluvium

According to, these soils comprise the Karunagapally, Karthikapally and Mavelikara taluks of Kollam and Alappuzha districts. The soil's texture is coarse.

Brown Hydromorphic

This soil is mostly found in valleys and low-lying areas on the coastal strip. According to, characteristics of the brown hydromprphic soil are grey horizons, mottling streaks, hard pans, organic matter depositions, iron and manganese concretion.

Saline Hydromorphic

According to, this soil is found on the coastal tracts of the districts of Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Trissur and Kannur. The variation of textures found in saline hydromprphic soils vary greatly. Pokkali and Kaipad soils are under this category.

Kuttanad Alluvium

According to, this soil is found in an exceptional part of the world, and is submerged underwater for a large percentage of the year. This soil is waterlogged, and unlike any other soil. The Kayal soil, the Karappadam soil and the Kari soil are the three categories of this soil.

Black Soil

According to, this soil is restricted to the Chittoor taluk of Palakkad district. The black soil is an extension of the black cotton soil. This dark soil is found on level land, or land that slopes lightly.

Forest Loam

According to, this soil is the product of crystalline rocks weathering in the forest. Found on the eastern part of Kerala, the color of forest loam soil is usually dark reddish brown to black.

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