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Forest Trees of South India

“Our ancestors knew the plants and their utility in the field of health and other avenues. But our present generation has become ignorant about these…
 They do not know even the plants that grow in their backyards,” writes Neginhal in the preface to his book Forest Trees of South India. The book as such, is as much a handbook for the keen naturalist, horticulturist, or forester, as it is an aid for the amateur nature enthusiast looking to ‘educate’ himself.

Neginhal draws on field experience and knowledge gained from his long association with the Indian Forest Service and his postings in various parts of south India to create a comprehensive list of all the trees growing in this region. He also uses the work of previous researchers and scholars such as Talbot, Gamble and Cooke (to name a few) to supplement his own research. The topography of the Indian peninsula with its double coastline, plains and mountains makes it a remarkable biological hotspot. From wet evergreen forests to scrubland, Neginhal covers trees growing in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh and even other bordering states such as Maharashtra, Goa and Orissa.

The book begins with a detailed discussion of the topography, geology, soil and climate conditions of South India, which acts as a very helpful reference for the rest of the text. The handbook lists 988 forest trees belonging to 89 families and along with their botanical and local names, their geographical distribution, medicinal, practical, material value and any other information that may be pertinent, is also provided. It was Neginhal’s original aim to provide colour photographs of all the trees but he had to sacrifice the idea because of the added time and expense this would have entailed. He has, however, managed to collect 176 colour photographs and filled the gaps with a huge number of line drawings to facilitate easier identification of the trees for the reader.

A glossary of biological terms explaining terminology used in the text further completes the book. Since no distributors have been appointed for the book, all those interested in purchasing a copy of the book have to place an order directly with the author at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Reviewed by Bidisha Basu
S.G. Neginhal, Published by: Published by the author, Hardcover; Price Rs. 895/-

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