Grasslands

The grasslands cover the plateau and descending slopes. Three hundred and eight species are recorded from the grassland out of which 51 are endemic to the montane grasslands of the Western Ghats. In Kerala grasslands extends over an area of about 200 km2 (Anon. 1991). These high altitude grasslands are extensive and consist of grasses, herbs and under shrubs. The dominant species of grasslands are Chrysopogon zeylanicus, Arundinella fuscata, Dichanthium polyptychum, Eulalia pheothrix, etc. The common non-grass species in the grasslands are Anaphallis sp., Swerita sp., Hypericum mysurensis, Phlebophyllum kunthianum, Eupatorium sp. Viola sp. And Pteridium aquilinum

The major grass species in the grasslands are Andropogon lividus Arundinella vaginata, Digitaria wallichiana and Arundinella mesophylla. Chrysopogon zeylanicus and Sehima nervosum dominate these plateau and slopes, whereas in the cattle grazed areas, unpalatable Cymbopogon flexousus is frequent. Sehima nervosum community is more prevalent through the plateau. Moist valleys are characterized by Garnotia sps. Other dominant grasses are Eulalia phaeothrix, and ropogon lividus, Arundinella purpurea, Agrostis peninsu;aris, Ichaemum indicum, Heteropogon contortus and Tripogon bromodies.

The common herbs and shrubs in the grasslands include Anaphalis lawii, A. bourneii, A. meeboldii, Swertia corymbosa, Polygala japonica, Curculigo orchiodies, Micromeria biflora, Bupeurum distichophyllum, Crotalaria fysonii, C. overlifolia, Ranunculus reniformis Hydyotis swertiodes, Hedyotis swertiodes, Sencio lavandlaefolious, Parnassia mysorense, Pedicularis zeyalanica, Wahlenbergia gracilifolia, Impatiens pandata, I. modesta, Pheldophyllu kunthianum, Hypericum mysorense, Pteridium aquilinum, Ageratina a denophora, Gaultheria sragrantissima etc.