Overview of Forests in Meghalaya

Meghalaya is among the few States in the country which can be proud of its abundance of natural forest wealth spanning across large part of its geographical area, much higher than national average. Its location, physiographical features, altitudinal variation, abundant rainfall, salubrious climate and fertile soils favours high species diversity and supports different types of forests. The Vegetation types ranging from tropical rain forest in foothill to Alpine meadows and cold desert. This rich flora had been the centre of attraction for many botanists starting from Buchanan Hamilton (1820-24) and rightly considered as ‘Botanist Paradises’. This region was described by Hooker as “Cradle of Angiosperms”.
True to its name, ‘Meghalaya’ is an abode of clouds and thus increased moisture conditions prevails. The hills rise abruptly in south, while it is gradual in north. The altitudinal variation range from 50 meters to 1950 meters with the Shillong plateau at the crest. The hills are dissected and drained by numerous rivers and rivulets draining to north and south. The climate is monsoonal with distinct warm-wet and cold-dry periods. The towns of Sohra (Cherrapunjee) and Mawsynram, which are located on the Southern part of the State, receive very heavy rainfall and amongst the wettest spots in the world.
The undulating hilly terrain, where the plateau is dissected by rain-fed rivers, streams and deep ravines, waterfalls and hills covered with rich vegetation present picturesque landscape. The forests are also home to rare and endemic plants and animals.  The undisturbed primary forests are botanically well known and extraordinarily rich.

Forests of the State shelters more than 3500 flowering plants, 352 orchids, 40 bamboo species and about 800 medicinal plants resources. The state is part of the Indo Burma Biodiversity Hotspot of the world. There are about 40 endemic plant species and 75 Threatened plant species found in Meghalaya. Amongst its rare species are the insect eating Pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana), Wild citrus (Citrus indica) and Pygmy Lily (Nymphaea tetragona). The Rhododendron Forest at Shillong Peak is a major attraction for tourist during blooming period (February to April).

Important Tree Species of Meghalaya

Botanical Name Common / Local Name
Shorea robusta Sal, Sakhu
Mesua ferrea Dieng ngai, Nahar
Myrica esculenta Box myrtle, Dieng Sohphi
Prunus cerasoides Wild Himalayan Cherry
Betula alnoides Dieng ling
Tectona grandis Teak, Segun
Pinus kesiya Khasi pine
Lagerstroemia spp Ajhow, Jarul, Sida
Michelia  spp Champ, Sopa, Titachap
Bombax ceiba Semul
Terminalia Myriocarpa Hollock
Gmelina arborea Gamari (State Tree)
Xylia xylocarpa NA
Albizia Spp Hiraru, Moroi, Mog, Kako, Sundi, Saw, Harish
Toona ciliata Poma
Terminalia spp. Bahera, Bhomda
Schima wallichii Makrisal, Nagaplu
Cinnamomum spp.  
Castanopsis indica Hingori
Syzigium jambosa jamoon
Artocarpus Sam, Champ, Kathal
Quercus spp. Oak
Chukrasia tabularis Chuma, Dieng Dkhar bti