University of Calicut

15 August 2020


Recently, the University has allotted another 13.5 acres of land adjacent to the garden for the arboretum. This area on the southern part is an undisturbed patch of natural forest allowing the succession in a natural way. This is the core area where visitors are not permitted to disturb the vegetation. The tree canopy is almost closed, and the mansoon stream passing through the arboretum supports the luxuriant growth of different kinds of shrubs, herbs and climbers on its sides.
A banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) is spreading with its prop roots and provides a good habitat for a number of of epiphytic plants. The wild plants include Hugonia mystax, Memecylon umbellatum, Mimusops elengi and Sterculia guttata. Many climbers such as Anamirta cocculus, Calycopteris floribunda, Gymnema sylvestre, and epiphytes such as Acampe praemorsa, and Pyrrosiagive a feeling of tropical wet evergreen forest inside the arboretum. Huge woody gymnospermous climber, Gnetum ulaand a magnificient Antiaris toxicaria (Maravuri) of 25 m high are the main attraction of this tree garden.


One of the major attractions of the central octagonal Green House is its diverse collection of wild and ornamental aroids. More than 60 species of aroids including the RET and endemic ones are well displayed in one section. It includes species of Amorphophallus, Anaphyllum, Alocasia, and Xanthosomaetc, ornamental aroids such as Aglaonema, Anthurium, Caladium, Dieffenbachia, Spathiphyllum and Zamioculcasknown for their foliage and spadices with vivid disply of colours are also beautifully displayed in the green house. In addition, epiphytic climbers such as Epipremnum, Monstera, Philodendron and Rhaphidophora are growing well in the shades.

Aquatic Plants

Diverse collection of aquatic plant species of Kerala are maintained in tanks in an open sunny location adjacent to the green house. The collection include the floating Azolla, Eichhornia, Lemna, Pistia, Salvinia, Spirodela, Wolffia and emergents such as Alisma, Nelumbium, Lagenandra and Thalia. Submerged aquatics like Blyxa, Cabomba, Ceratophyllum, Cryptocoryne, Hydrilla, Microsorumand Vallisneria. Different species of Nymphoideswith magnificent white flowers are another added attraction to this collection. The giant water lily, Victoria amazonica is kept separately in a pond close to the Oil Palm avenue



On the northern sloppy terrain which is predominantly lateritic occupies a good collection ofbamboos. The Budda’s belly bamboo, (Bambusa vamin), Thornless Bamboo and Yellow Bamboo (B. striata) are some of the major attractions. Species such as Bambusa multiplexare trained to elegant bushes bordering the ring road towards the Northern boundary.


Over 20 species of bryophytes (Liverworts, Hornworts and Mosses) naturally occur in CUBG. Cyathodium, Riccardia and Riccia are the common liverworts. Anthoceros and Notothylas are Hornworts and Bryum, Fissidens, Hyophila and Octoblepharum are some of the common mosses found here during the monsoon months.

Cacti and succulents house

The garden is a delight to all those who enjoy rare and exotic xerophytes in an idyllic setting in a separate house. Many large cacti and succulents like Caralluma, Cereus, Euphorbia antiquorum, Opuntia, ,Sansevireria, Stapelia, etc., are grown in a separate house specially designed with lateritic rocks simulating its natural environs.

Ferns and Fern Allies (Pteridophytes)

These non-flowering, primitive plants are exquisite for their magnificent leaf architecture. The CUBG has the biggest collection of wild pteridophytes among the University Botanical Gardens in India with over 100 species.Most of the collections are from the Western Ghat of South India. Edible fern (Athyrium esculentum), Club mosses (Lycopodium sp.),Little club mosses (Selaginella sp.), Maiden hair ferns (Adiantum sp.), Moon worts (Botrychiumsp.), Mosquito ferns (Azollasp.), Royal fern (Osmunda regalis), Salviniamolesta, Birds nest fern (Asplenium nidus), Stag-horn ferns (Platyceriumsp.) and Tree fern (Cyathea) are grown in the garden. Big clump of Angiopteris evecta, Psilotum nudumand Equisetum ramosissimum (horse-tail) are some other curious additions.


A good collection of graceful gingers (Zingibereaceae) is maintained in different green houses viz. ‘Ginger villa’, ‘Ginger House’ and ‘Spices House’ and in the “Ginger Zone” of the Botanical Garden. This forms the largest collection of live gingers in India. The collection includes gingers from Northeast India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and exotics from China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. About 80% of the live collections of Indian gingers.are maintained in the CUBG. It covers over 2000 accessions belonging to about 200 taxa, of which over 50 taxa are endangerd and about 30 are endangered . The wild relatives of economically important genera such as Alpinia, Amomum, Curcuma, Elettaria, Hedychium and Zingiber are conserved in field simulating its natural habitat. A good number of exotic ornamentals as well as potential ornamentals are also included.

Wild bananas

A unique and fascinating collection of Musaceae comprising 41taxa of wild bananas from India is beautifully grown in the central low lying area. Magnificent spadices of Southeast Asian, Musa hakkineiniiand Musa ornata amidst lush green foliagecatches our attention even from a distance.. Large bottle-like bases of Ensete superbum and E. Glaucum with its large stiff foliage is also an eye-catching sight in the garden. Apart from the wild, 24 Indian cultivars of Musa also enrich the banana collections here. It also include 28 endemic taxa and 15 endangered species.


In addition to the native Cycas circinalis othercycads such as Zamia floridana, Z. furfuracea, Dioonmajiaeand Conifers such as Agathis, Araucaria, Cupressus, Juniperus and Podocarpus are also represented .The large woody Gnetum ula climbing over huge trees bearing male and female cones is yet another attraction.

Medicinal Plants

one of the major attraction is the rich and varied collection of medicinal plants from the Western Ghats of Kerala. A separate Medicinal Plant House holding over 200 species of medicinal herbs and shrubs are displayed in the galleries. The collections include ‘Nalpamara’ (comprising 4 species of Ficus) ‘Dasamoolam’ (10 medicinal root plants) and ‘Dasapushpam’ (10 sacred plants of Kerala tradition and culture).The rare ‘Maramanjhal’ (Coscinium fenestratum) is well growing in the Medicinal Plant House as well as in the open garden. Some of the beautiful medicinal herbs exhibited are quite poisonous. Examples include the common castor bean, Ricinus communis, and Strychnos nux-vomica. Many other plants included in this collection can also be toxic if misused. Adjacent to the medicinal collections star-plants are also displayedin an open courtyard.


Over 50 species of wild orchids such as Acampe, Aerides, Calanthe, Geodorum, Habenaria, Oberonia, Rhynchostylis and Seidenfia are grown in the green house. Endemic species like, Acanthephippium bicolor, Ipsea malabarica, (Malabar daffodil) are conserved in the orchidarium. Ornamental orchids like Dancing girl (Oncidium) Dove orchid (Peristeria), Soniya (Dendrobium), Spider orchid (Arachnis) are the attractions of the orchidarium.

Ornamental Plants

A good number of ornamental plants (both foliage and flowering) are displayed in the garden. The alluring leafy ornamentals include a large collection of Aroids, Bromiliads, Calatheas, Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) and Marantas. The Major flowering plants are: Calliandra, Cosmos, Dianthus, Gerbera, Lantana, Tagetes, Verbenaand Zinnia, The brilliantly hued flowers of Arachis glabrata forms a yellow carpet near Victoria pond during April-May every year. The garden has five varieties of Frangipani (Plumeria sp.)

Mushrooms and other macro fungi

The CalicutUniversityBotanical Garden is remarkable for the very high diversity of mushrooms and other macrofungi most of which are well documented. It is home to several hundreds of agaric species belonging to genera such as Agaricus, Amanita, Collybia, Coprinus, Entoloma, Hygrocybe, Lentinus, Marasmius, Mycena, Pleurotus and Termitomyces. A number of gasteromycetes such as puffballs (Lycoperdon, Pisolithus), earth stars (Geastrum), bird’s nest fungi (Cyathus) and stink-horns (Dictyophora) are seen here. Several genera of coral fungi (Clavaria, Ramaria), jelly fungi (Auricularia, Tremella) and bracket fungi (Ganoderma, Hexagonia, Microporus, Phellinus, Polyporus)are encountered in the garden. Ascomycetes genera such as Daldinia, Peziza, Rhopalostroma, Trichoglossum and Xylaria are frequently seen. Specimens of most of these fungi are preserved in the Mycology Laboratory of the Department of Botany.


In addition to Coconut avenues of Royal Palms and Oil Palms, several other agri-horticulturally valued palms such as Areca, Arecastrum, Cyrtostachys, Licuala, Rhapis and Zalacca are introduced in the garden. Besides, the common Fish-tail palm, Caryota urens, the monocarpic Talipot palm, Corypha umbraculiferarun wild in large numbers. Western Ghat endemics such as Arenga wightii and Pinenga dicksonii also flourishes well along the eastern boundary of the garden.A few palms of the Nicobar endemic, Bentinckia nicobarica introduced to the garden few years back are also well established.


CUBG has one of the oldest Vanilla plantations. Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger and Nutmeg are the other spices grown in the garden. A house for spices of ginger related species is set up near the green house and about 200 accessions from different parts of India are kept there.

Trees and Lianas

Cashew (Anacardium), Jack fruit (Artocarpus) and Mango (Mangifera) were present in the garden area before its acquisition. Many tree species are introduced. Timber plants like Irul (Xylia), Mahagoni (Swetenia), Maruth (Terminalia),Rose wood (Dalbergia), Teak (Tectona) are well grown in the garden. The African Baobab (Adansonia digitata) is a curious tree. Other important trees are: Adenanthera, Aeroplane tree (Ochroma), African tulip tree (Spathodea), Camphor tree (Cinnamomumsphericus), Champaka (Michelianilagirica), Iron wood tree (Mesua ferrea), Rudraksha tree (Elaeocarpussphaericus) and Sausage tree (Kigelia africana). The beautiful flowering trees include Cochlospermum gossypium, Lagerstroemia speciocaetc.Adenocalymma alliacea, Quisqualis indicaand Saritaeamagnificaare the attractive climbers with graceful flowers.

Trekking path

A portion of the garden along its south-west border is retained to preserve the natural vegetation with a number of trees, palms, lianas and climbers. The undulating terrain with luxuriant growth of wild climbers such as Gnetum ula, Hugonia mystax, Calycopteris floribunda and the spiny straggling Hibiscus hispidissimus and Calamus thwaitesii offers visitors to feel the warmth of the tropical forest while trekking through its narrow trail.Magnificent yellow blooms of Cat’s claw trumpet, Doxantha unguis-cati is most striking and perhaps the most spectacular of all bignoniaceous climbers.

Green Earth

A separate green house called ‘Green Earth’ to house Gesneriads and Arisaemas Commelinas and Sonerilas was opend in October 2014 by Dr. Michael Möller, RBG, Edinburgh. The Gesnariaceae collections include both terrestrial and epiphytic taxa. Species of Didymocarpus , Henckelia, Rhynchotechum and Rhynchoglossumare well displayed in this section. The monotypic and endemic, Jerdonia indica is a important addition. A few native species of ‘Cobra lilies’ such as Arisaema tortuosum, A. muricaudatum, A. tylophorum are grown as displayed in pots at the green earth. Weedy Commelinas along with exotic ornamentals such as Callisia, Cochirstema, Dichorismela and Tradescantiaenrich the ‘Green Earth’collection.

Touch and Feel Garden for visually impaired

A separate section in the northern boundary of the garden is specially designed for the visually impaired is a new initiative funded by Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate change. With a view to familiarize plants by touch and feel started attracting the visually impaired. About 65 species of aromatic and other curious plants and 34 seeds and fruits of diverse groups under common vegetables, spices, medicinal plants etc. are displayed. The audio system and Braille scripts provide basic information including uses of all plants exhibited in this garden. This is the largest of its kind in India.