Overview for Fern Flora of Malabar
The Indian sub-continent is one of the richest in its pteridophyte flora particularly fern flora, and the Malabar as the home of choicest species, has been renowned for its floristic wealth since times immemorial. But so far there has been no comprehensive study of this flora and not even an attempt has been made to collect and record the wealth of pteridophytes of the subcontinent. The only references yet are the pioneering publications--The Ferns of Southern India (1864), The Ferns of British India (1865-66) and Handbook to The Ferns of British India, Ceylon & Malay Peninsula (1883) by R.H. Beddome. However, Beddome's taxonomic descriptions and nomenclature of pteridophytes were more confused than those of any other group of plants. Confusion exists not only in the nomenclature but also in the correct identity, discrimination etc of several of Beddome's taxa. This has drastically reduced the usefulness of Beddome's descriptions in the modern context. It is, however, sad to note that Indian fern taxonomists do not provide detailed descriptions of the various taxa they report and contend to provide very brief descriptions stressing upon a few characters. Such an approach has drastically reduced the value of the few regional floras which have been published in recent years. The description of the fern taxa of Malabar presented in this book is an attempt to correct this situation and is intended to provide a rough model for taxonomic descriptions of Indian ferns. This book includes detailed taxonomic account of 170 species in 70 genera of Indian ferns (over 20% in terms of species and 40% in terms of genera of ferns of India), and is profusely illustrated with field photographs. The taxonomic descriptions are based mainly on field study and collections made during 1974-82. Keys for identification of species are provided under each family. In addition, a general key is provided which includes all taxa described. An alternate key is also provided to facilitate rechecking and confirming the identification.
B.K. Nayar (Author)
Prof. B.K. Nayar is the foremost pteridologist India has produced and one of the topmost among contemporary pteridologists the world over. He has the record of active research studies on pteridology covering a long span of over 40 years and has published over 200 research papers in leading research journals of the world. Primarily a comparative morphologist, his contributions in the field of evolution of pteridophytes and morphology of gametophyte, spores and vasculature are the most extensive; no other botanist has contributed so extensively to these branches so far as Prof. Nayar. In the field of taxonomy and floristics, Prof. Nayar has undertaken field studies of pteridophytes all over the Indian region, concentrating especially on N.E. India and Western Ghats region of South India. He is the only Indian pteridologist who has proposed a phylogenetic system of classification of pteridophytes, and has published a comprehensive list of nomenclatural changes of Indian ferns, updating the nomenclature of the fern taxa described by the pioneer of floristic study of Indian ferns, Col. R.H. Beddome.
K.K. Geevarghese (Author)
Dr. K.K. Geevarghese, Professor of Botany, now at M.E.S. College, Mampad (Kerala) is primarily a fern taxonomist and ecologist, who has been engaged in the study of taxonomy of ferns of Malabar and ecology of the Western Ghat forests for the past twenty years. His intimate knowledge of forests of Malabar, their plant wealth and ecology is unsurpassed.