The semester V students of T.Y. B.Sc. Botany were taken for a trip to the lateritic plateau in Verna(Goa), near Verna industrial estate on Thursday,29th of September,’16. The main objective of choosing this site for study was to learn about the variations in flora in a xerophytic habitat, predominated by lateritic substratum. The plateau is on the national highway which connects Margao with cities of Panaji & Vasco and is about 3 kms from Carmel College (Nuvem). The area under study was a sloppy terrain with minimum soil as substratum and predominated by lateritic rocks.
A general physiognomy of the area, clearly shows the predominance of herbaceous xerophytic grasses (Poaceae) interspersed with smaller areas having the spread of herbs- Murdannia sp. (Commelinaceae). In addition to this, Papilionaceous herbs like Smithia sensitive and Cassia mimosoides were in bloom in patches. An interesting species was Lepidagathis from Acanthaceae with their highly branched, scandant, sturdy, dry stems spreading on the rocks. It is a xerophytic species with few, thick, spinescent leaves, the growing season being June to end of August. Some other herbs identified were Cassia tora, Celosia argentia, Desmodium sp., Alysicarpus sp.etc. Eriocaulon sp. (Eriocaulaceae) and Ammania sp. (Lythraceae) which is are amphibious floral components growing in and around small ditches within the plateau, were almost in the last stages of its life cycles as the rains were receding.
Shrubby & bushy patches of Ixora coccinea (Rubiaceae), Holorrenha antidysenterica (Apocynaceae), Thespecia sp. (Malvaceae) and Callicopteris floribunda (Combretaceae) were some among the common sps. which are otherwise seen commonly in landscapes of Goa.
Hygrophila sp. (Acanthaceae) was found growing in an isolated water logged area by the side of the national highway much away from the lateritic plateau under study.