The present publication is the second such endeavour made to facilitate study of the plant species in Maharashtra. The earlier publication covered the Northern Western Ghats and Konkan region while the present book attempts to bring out the glory of the Vidarbha region, which has its unique flora and bioclimatological as well as physiographical identity.
Unlike Western Maharashtra, the floristic surveys of the Vidarbha region, which was a part of Central Province & Berar, were started much later and were not as extensive as those during the erstwhile Bombay presidency. A brief account of the flora of Melghat-Berar area was given in the Forest Flora of Northwest and Central India [1874) by then Inspector General of Forests, Dr Dietrich Brandis & Lindsay. It was followed by the publications by other foresters and botanists which include Van Someren G.J. (Melghat, 1887), D.O. Witt (Northern & Berar Circle, 1908), Burkill (CP & Berar, 1910), Graham (Nagpur, 1911-13) and H.H. Haines, (Southern Circle, 1916). After the span of a century thereafter, the Vidarbha region now has a comprehensive understanding of the flora, thanks to the efforts put in by many plant explorers, including Mirashi, Nafday, Patel, Balapure, Malhotra, Murthy, Rao, Paradkar, Munshi, Acharya, Ugemuge, Dhore & ]oshi, Kamble, Diwakar & Sharma and Karthikeyan & Anandkumar among others. Other significant floristic explorations were also undertaken by Moghe, Patil, Bhuskute, Bhogaonkar & her students, Chaturvedi & her students, Kahalkar and many others from the Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University and Sant Gadge Baba Amaravati University.
Although there is a comprehensive account of the flora of this region, people often face difficulties in plant identification while undertaking scientific surveys and studies, including wildlife monitoring, habitat studies, vegetation analysis, etc. Field foresters are usually deployed in the remotest parts of any district and have continuous accompaniment of the floral elements. It is expected that they can add up to the knowledge of the distribution of some important plants in their areas after having some basic understanding through the field guides like this.
The present work attempts to document about 510 species out of about 2000 species reported so far from Vidarbha region. Efforts have been made to give insight into the plant wealth in general and provide some basic knowledge to begin with so that in future the readers can improve and refine their knowledge in this field. The authors hope that this field guide will be useful to all the amateurs, students, researchers and foresters in understanding the plant diversity of Vidarbha and its surroundings.