Endangered Plant Species of India
India is home to approximately 49,000 plant species – equating to about 12 percent of the known species in the world. At least 20 percent of India’s plant species are threatened or endangered. The main causes of the reduction in the population of plants are destruction of their natural habitats, commercial harvesting and exploitation, and low reproduction rates.
Talipot Palms, Corypha species, are tall palm trees that are endangered. Some species are found only in cultivated locations. The tree grows 50 to 60 years before blooming and then slowly dies. This has led to a decline in its population.
Cycas beddomei, commonly called Peritha or Pireetha, is an evergreen plant that grows 15 to 20 feet tall. It grows on dry open slopes, open woodlands and grasslands in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Its population has been decimated by harvesting for trade and medicinal uses, and is considered critically endangered.
Decalepis hamiltonii is a shrub that grows in deciduous forests of Peninsular India. It is endangered due to habitat destruction and over-exploitation. All parts of the plant contain alkaloids and glycosides that are used in medicines and pesticides. Some common names for Decalepis hamiltonii are Maredugeddalu, Nannari and Sariba.
Another critically endangered shrub is Ilex khasiana. There are only three or four known plants left on Shillong Peak in the Khasi Hills. The plant population has declined due to the plant’s low rate of reproduction.
Malabar Mahogany, Kingiodendron pinnatum, is a large tree that grows in the forested hills of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is endangered due to over exploitation, habitat destruction, and low reproduction rates.
Madhucca diplestomon is a small tree that grows in the forests on Deccan Peninsula. It is endangered due to habit destruction caused by agriculture, clear cutting and human habitations.
Myristica magnifica and M. malabarica are endangered trees that are native to Western Ghats. The swamp lands and lowlands where they normally grow have been drained for agricultural use.
Reds Sandalwood, Pterocarpus santalinus, is a tree that only grows in the dry, deciduous forests of Eastern Ghats. It is endangered due to logging and clear cutting of its habitat, in addition to harvesting for use in medicines and cosmetics.
Syzygium travancoricum is a large shrub or small tree that is critically endangered. There are some populations in Guddrikal and Grove Aickad. The swampy wetlands where it normally grows have been drained for use as paddy fields.