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The Western Ghats, India, having non-equatorial forest, are rich in arborescent species. Identification of these species is often difficult when they lack reproductive parts, because in conventional floras the taxonomic keys are generally based on flowering and fruiting characters. To help ecologists, foresters or other parataxonomists in the field, this field key, based on vegetative characters, helps to identify 502 evergreen woody species (trees and lianas) of low (< 800 m) and medium (800–1400 m) elevations evergreen forests of the Western Ghats. The main vegetative characters used are exudation, armature and leaf character states such as arrangement, type, shape, venation patterns and glands. Along with the dichotomous key this field guide also provides leaf illustrations of 400 species and a glossary of botanical terms.