Additional floral elements to the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India
Anshu Shrivastava 1 & V. Singh 2
1Abhumka Herbal Pvt Ltd., 502 - Shreeji Chambers, B/h Cargo Ford, C G Road, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380006, India
2 Botanical Survey of India, Arid Zone Circle, 775/80, Subhash Nagar, Khema Ka Kuan, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342008, India
Email: 1 email@example.com
Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (RTR), located in the south-eastern part of Sawai Madhopur District of Rajasthan State in western India, is well known for the Indian Tiger - a subspecies in crisis. It is located between 25°54’-26°12’N & 76°23’-76°35’E, with an area of 1333.88km2 at the average altitude of 350m. The dense forests of Anogeissus pendula Edgew. (Dhok), along with other tree associates and shrubby and herbaceous layers, provide shelter and food for wildlife.
Sharma (1983), Das (1987), Das & Singh (1995) and others reported 392 species of higher plants. General vegetation account and floristic studies of Sawai Madhopur district have also been carried out by Jain (1960), Mathur (1987), and Das (1990).
The reserve sustains many rare and endangered plant species, most of which are considered threatened now. Many wild relatives of crop plants have also been identified as a potential genetic resource. Therefore the BSI surveyed the RTR for more than four years (from February 2001 to March 2005) and compiled data. A total of 539 species of flowering plants were collected (Singh & Shrivastava 2007), of these, the occurrence of 398 species were recorded by earlier workers. Thus 141 species belonging to 113 genera spread over to 48 families are additions.
Field surveys were conducted to the study of floristic diversity of RTR. Specimens collected were preserved and identified with the help of regional flora volumes, viz. Flora of Rajasthan (Shetty & Singh 1987-1993) and Flora of North-eastern Rajasthan (Sharma & Tiagi 1979) and matching with the types in various Indian herbaria including the Botanical Survey of India, Jodhpur (BSJO), Central National Herbarium, Kolkata (CNH) and Herbarium of Rajasthan University, Jaipur (RUBL). All the voucher specimens are deposited in BSJO. Arrangement of families is according to Bentham and Hooker (1862-1883). Introduced species are marked with an asterisk (*) against the name.
The present study not only records 141 species of flowering plants as additions to RTR but also reports 75 species as additions to Sawai Madhopur district where the RTR exists. It is interesting to note that 20 grasses (Poaceae) and 14 sedges (Cyperaceae) taxa were also added. Implementation of wildlife protection rules and regulations and proper conservation and management strategies may form RTR more suitable habitat for in-situ conservation for the species of rare occurrence.
In this study, an interesting, rare species considered to be endemic to western Rajasthan, Abutilon bidentatum Hochst. ex A. Rich. var. major (Blatt. & Hallb.) Bhandari was collected. Its occurrence in Aravalli hills shows extended distribution eastwards. Two new records to Indian flora, Tephrosia uniflora Pers. and Pergularia tomentosa L. of rare occurrence reported in the study area. Oryza rufipogon Griff., Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb. var. amara (Roxb.) C.B. Clarke and Cajanus scarabaeoides (L.) du Petit-Thou. are some of the wild relatives of crop plants facing threats. It is worth mentioning that RTR is the only habitat in Rajasthan from where four taxa viz. Fimbristylis dipsacea (Rottb.) Clarke, Pergularia tomentosa L., Tephrosia uniflora Pers. and Abrus pulchellus Wall. ex Thw. have been reported. Some species which became restricted in distribution due to adverse ecological factors or inadequate reproductive mechanism are Capparis sepiaria L. var. vulgaris Hook. f. & Thoms., Oxalis corymbosa DC., Ziziphus mauritiana Lam. var. hysudrica (Edgew.) Almeida, Gardenia turgida Roxb. var. montana (Roxb.) Hook. f., Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb. var. lushii (Grah.) Hook. f., Convolvulus prostratus Forssk. var. deserti (Hochst. & Steud. ex Baker & Rendle) Parmar, Ipomoea nil (L.) Roth var. himalaica (Clarke) Johri, Euphorbia granulata Forssk. var. glabrata Boiss., Eriophorum comosum (Wall.) Wall. ex Clarke, Brachiaria lata (Schumach.) C. E. Hubbard var. pubescens C.E. Hubbard, Pennisetum pedicellatum Trin. subsp. unispiculum Brunken, and Vetiveria lawsonii (Hook. f.) Blatt. & McC.
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