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Southern moist mixed deciduous forests

Kerala is a land of intense cultivation. Several exotic species have been introduced as cash crops. They are raised in pure crops or as mixture along with indigenous species. Coconut, arecanut and paddy are the most extensively raised indigenous species. A variety of herbaceous as well as shrubby species are often grown along with coconut and arecanut. Whereas paddy is raised as a pure crop. Tea, coffee and rubber are the extensively raised exotic cash crops in the State. Tapioca, cashew, coco and tobacco are also cultivated to a large to medium scale. The exotic trees introduced to meet the timber, pulp and paper industry are Acacia auriculiformis, A. mangium, A. mearnsii, A. dealbata, Eucalyptus grandis, E. tereticornis, E. camaldulensis, Grevillea robusta, Paraserianthes falcataria, Swietenia macrophylla, etc. Exotic ornamental and avenue trees are Bauhinia purpurea, Callistemon citratus, Cananga odorata, Cassia siamea, C. nodosa, Couropita guianensis, Delonix regia, Jacaranda mimosifolia, Kigelia africana, Kleinhovia hospita, Peltophorum pterocarpum, Plumeria rubra, Polyalthia longifolia, Spathodea campanulata, etc. The important horticultural plants are Achras sapota, Averrhoa bilimbi, A. carambola, Diospyros mangostana, Phyllanthus acidus, Psidium guajava, Syzygium aqueum, S. jambos, S. malaccensis, etc.


A few species which were introduced as garden plants have become naturalised and attained the status of weed. The most widespread and obnoxious weeds are Ageratina adenophora, Chromolaena odorata, Eichhornia crassipes, Lantana camara, Mikania micrantha, Mimosa diplotricha and Parthenium hysterophorus. These aggressive weeds are establishing very fast in the terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems and are serious threat to the indigenous flora. It is estimated that about 10 per cent of the flora of the State is composed of exotic species.

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