Vegetation of Odisha

Vegetation of Odisha

  • Orissa, owing to its peculiar geographical location and wide range of physical features, embraces a diversified floristic composition and consequently a vast economic potential.
  • The extensive range of hilly forests, several lofty peaks, long stretch of coast line, excellent river rain system, brackish waters and coastal plains altogether have gifted the state with a wide range of ecological habitats for a diverse and broad spectrum of vegetation.
  • The forests of Orissa have innumerable number of medicinal and economically important species, all of which need a scientific and sustainable management.
  • The forest cover in the State is 50,354 sq. km. i.e. 32.34% of its geographical area and tree cover of the State is 3,986 sq. km. as published in India State of Forest Report, 2015.

Forest Types in OdishaVegetation of Odisha

According to Champion and Seth Classification, 18 forest Types are present in Odisha. However broadly, based on the relief, rainfall and vegetation types, the forests of Odisha are divided into the following four major types as blow:

  1. Northern Tropical Semi-evergreen Forests:
  • These occur in the lower hills and valleys above 600 m elevation in the forest divisions of Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal, Athgarh, Puri, Nayagarh, Parlakhemudi, Koraput and Kalahandi.
  • While the top storey trees/plants are deciduous and remain leafless for a short time, the second storey is evergreen.
  • The important tree species are: Arjun, Mango, MankarKendu, Champa, Rai, Manda and Nageswar.
  1. Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests (Also known as Monsoon Forests):
  • These occur in the lower elevations in Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts and the districts bordering on Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh of India.
  • The top canopy is formed by Sal and its allies Asan, Piasal, Kurum, Kangra and Dhawra and Daba bamboo.
  1. Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests:
  • They occur in the drier central and western areas in parts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Khariar, Deogarh and Gobindpur divisions of State.
  • Teak instead of Sal, and Salia bamboo instead of Daba bamboo predominate in these forests.
  1. Tidal Mangrove Forests:
  • These are limited in degree, scattered and confined to the sea-coast, especially in BhitarKanika and the Mahanadi delta.
  • The characteristic tree species are Karika , Sundari, Bani, Rai, Guan (Exocaria), etc.
  • As Hental grows here abundantly in clusters, the mangrove forests are locally called Hental van.

Forest Types of Odisha as per India State of Forest Report,2015

Sl. No. Forest TypeArea in Sq. KmPercentage
1Odisha Semi Evergreen Forest106.010.20
2Secondary Moist Bamboo Brakes253.860.48
3Southern Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest1142.792.15
4Southern Secondary Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest351.610.66
5Peninsular (coastal)Sal Forest4.940.01
6Moist Peninsular High level Sal Forest2697.645.08
7Moist Peninsular Valley Sal Forest1383.541.61
8Moist Peninsular low level Sal Forest10683.7820.11
9Northern Secondary Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest4919.599.26
10Littoral Forest75.060.14
11Mangrove Forest180.280.34
12Dry Teak Forest140.730.27



  • The forests of Orissa are the store house of many useful plants like Timber species, Orchards, Rich Medicinal plants, Aromatic plants.
  • About 33% of the total forest cover is predominated by Sal and its associates.
  • While the rest is covered by species like Teak, Piasal, Bandhan, Kangada, Kasi, Sisu, Asana, Kuram and Dheura.
  • Bamboos (26%) are the principal species both in dry as well as moist deciduous forest.

Timber Species:

  • The forest of the state embraces a large number of timber yielding species of which. Sal (shorea robusta) predominates with about 43% of the total forest cover.
  • Other notable ones are Teak, Piasal, Bandhan, Kangad, Kasi, Sisu, Asana, Kuruma and Dhaura.
  • Various types of Bamboos, Sal seeds and resins, Kendu leaves, Canes, Sandal wood, Myrobalans, Salap and other minor forest products are some of the important sources of forest revenue of the state.
  • Sal and Bamboo forests, occur predominantly in Southern Orissa, Teaks occur naturally in Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi bdistricts along with a number of other valuable species. Ecologically, South Orissa is the meeting point of two giant species of Indian Forests Sal and Teak. Down south no Sal and towards North, there is no natural teak.


  • Orchids have aroused a lot of interest from commercial point of view as well as conservational aspects are fairly common in different ecological habitats throughout the State.
  • Of an estimated 1,200 species of Orchids in India, about 120 species occur only in Orissa including several rare ones.
  • In view of the international attention reverted today, the Govt. of Orissa initiates programme for declaring orchid-rich forests (Similipal, Mahendragiri, Singharoj) as orchidarium to serve as a tourist attraction.

Rich Medicinal Plants

  • As many as 220 medicinal and quasi medicinal plants have been reported to occur in Gandhamardan hills alone, though the actual number may still be more.
  • The Similipal and the mythologically famous Gandhamardan hills are some of the potential sources of indigenous herbal plants deserving proper attention for thorough survey works.
  • Sarpagandha or Patalgaruda an endangered and important medicinal plant occur in the wild in Orissa and can be utilized as a traditional remedy for snake bite and cure for other diseases.
  • Among others Swasamari, Kochila, Koruan and Thalkudi are a few other common medicinal plants of the state.

Aromatic Plants

Kiya (Pandanusfascicularis):

  • Locally known as Kiya this plant grows abundantly along coastal Orissa, particularly in Ganjam district.
  • Near Berhempur , Orissa, there are about 60 distillers, which distill around four crores of flowers every year

Sal (Shorea robusta):

  • This is a common forest species of Orissa. Sal resin, on destructive distillation, yields an oil known as ‘chua oil’ varying from 41 to 68 percent.
  • The resin known as ‘dhup’ or ‘jhuna’is obtained by tapping Sal tree. Sal resin oil is brownish yellow in color and has an agreeable incense like odour.
  • ‘Chua oil’ is used as fixative for heavy perfumes and flavoring tobacco.

Citrus species:

  • The flower, leaves and the rind of this species are aromatic.
  • Citrus oil, is used extensively for perfumery and pharmaceutical purposes.
  • There are potential areas in Koraput, Sambalpur and Ganjam districts where citrus production could be intensified.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides):

  • Vetiver roots are excellent source of high grade perfumes.
  • The grass grows wild in vacant fields and swampy areas

Wild Lemongrass:

  • Some variety of lemongrass are found growing wild in cooler hill regions of Similipal, Koraput, Khariar, Kapilas and Ganjam districts of Orissa.
  • Due to poor quality of oil no use has been found for this. But, this grass is mainly used for thatching purpose.

Hyptis swavelns:

  • It is an annual herb, which grows wild in Orissa and the neighbouring state.
  • The leaves contain 0.1 percent essential oil, and the oil is rich in terrapins & low boilers.
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