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The Flora of Diamond Island

Nature volume 44, page 138 | Download Citation



DIAMOND ISLAND is situated at the mouth of the Bassein River, in the Indian Ocean, about five miles from Pagoda Point and eight miles from Cape Negrais, and in about 16° N. lat. It is of sandstone formation, somewhat exceeds a square mile in area, being about twice as long as broad, and the central part is a kind of plateau 6o feet or so above the level of the sea. With the exception of a small clearing for a telegraph station, the island is densely wooded down to the sea, but there is no mangrove belt on any part of the sandy coast, unless it be considered as represented by a few patches of Avicennia officinalis. Thus is the island described, though in greater detail, by Dr. D. Pram, Curator of the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, who has visited the island in H.M. Indian Marine Survey steamer Investigator, commanded by R. F. Hoskyn, RN. Dr. Pram has published an elaborate analytical account of the flora in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. He collected eighty-six species of flowering plants, three ferns, and four funguses, among which there was not a single novelty. The enumeration includes a number of cultivated plants, among them the coconut palm; but these are all of recent introduction. It is supposed that the island was not previously inhabited, and therefore that the vegetation of the dense wood overspreading the island is quite natural. The most interesting fact brought out is the evident affinity with the somewhat distant Andaman flora, pointing to a former connection. The Report is also valuable to the student of plant-distribution for the details it contains of the habitats and relative frequency of the component species of the vegetation.

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