Sikkim, the smallest State with less than 1% of India’s landmass, is home to 27% of all flowering plants found in the country, reveals a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI). Flora of Sikkim – A Pictorial Guide, released recently, lists 4,912 naturally occurring flowering plants in the tiny Himalayan State.
“The total number of naturally occurring flowering plants in the country is about 18,004 species, and with 4,912 species, the diversity of flowering plants in Sikkim, spread over an area of 7,096 sq. km. is very unique,” according to the publication.
The publication provides details of 5,068 taxa (including 152 cultivated taxa) belonging to 1,491 genera and 209 angiosperm families which are naturally occurring flowering plants, along with geography, ecology, vegetation pattern and forest types of Sikkim.
Scientists and researchers behind the publication said that the State, which is a part of the Kanchenjunga biosphere landscape, has different altitudinal ecosystems, which provide opportunity for herbs and trees to grow and thrive. The State also borders China, Bhutan and Nepal, and the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal.
“From subalpine vegetation to the temperate to the tropical, the State has different kinds of vegetation, and that is the reason for such a diversity of flora. The elevation also varies between 300 to 8,598 metres above mean sea level, the apex being the top of Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 metres)”.