Altingia Excelsa Classification Essay


State : Assam
Area : 765 sq. km.
Endemic Flora : Rauvolfia (Sarpagandhi), Benteak, Livistona (orchid)
Endemic Fauna : White winged wood duck, Hollock-gibbon, Wild buffalo

This reserve is situated in the south bank of the river Brahmaputra in the extreme east of Assam state and includes Dibru- Saikhowa wildlife sanctuary and Dibru- Saikhowa National Park. Bio-geographically, the area exhibits the properties of both the Indian and the Malayan sub-regions. The annual rainfall ranges from 2300 mm to 3800 mm. There are around 38 villages in the buffer zone of the reserve. The forest types of the reserve comprises of semi-evergreen, deciduous, littoral and swamp forest and patches of wet evergreen forest.

The entire reserve is flat terrain, situated on the flood plain of Brahmaputra.. There are a large number of perennial and seasonal channels namely Kolomi, Salbeel nala, Dadhia nala, Chabru nadi, Laikajan, Ananta nala, Hatighuli nala, Dimoruhola and Ajukhanala.


Major tree species of biosphere reserve are: Salix terasperma (India willow), Bishcofia javanica (Blume javanese bishopwood), Dillenia indica (Hondapara tree), Bombax ceibe (Red silk cotton tree), Lagerstromia parviflora (Landia), Anthoephalus cadamba (Indian seasde oak), Artocarpus chaplasa (Taungpienne), Mesua ferrea (Indian rose chestnut), Dalbergia sissoo (Sissoo) and Ficus spp.

Commonly found orchids of the Reserve are Rhynocostylis retusa (Blume saccolabium blumei Lindley), and Pholidota articulate (Rattlesnake-tail orchid). Grassess such as Aurondo donax (Giant reed), Phragmities karka (Flute reed), Imperata cylindrica (Japanese blood grass) and Saccharum sp. are found in the Reserve. Threatened and endangered medicinal plants of the Reserve are Rauvalfia serpentine (serpentine wood), Hydnocarpus kurizii (Chaulmoogra tree), Holarrhen antidysenterica (Conessi tree), Costus speciosus (Spiral ginger), Dioscorea alata (Winged yam )and Dioscorea bulbifor (Air potato vine).


36 species of mammals are recorded from the Reserve. Of these, 12 belong to Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection (Act) 1972. Royal Bengal tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, jungle cat, sloth bear, golden jackal, dole, Small Indian civet, small Asian mongoose, common mongoose, common otter, Malayan giant squirrel, Pallas’ squirrel, Himalayan hoary bellied squirrel, common giant flying squirrel, Indian hare, pangolin, Himalayan mole, ground shrew, Gangetic dolphin, slow loris, capped langur, hoolock gibbon, Asian elephant, feral horses, wild boar, sambar, hog deer, barking deer and Asiatic water buffalo are the larger mammals found in the Reserve.

There are two species of monitor lizards, eight species of turtles and eight species of snakes. The turtles such as Malayan box turtle, Asian leaf turtle, spotted pond turtle, brown roofed turtle, Assam roofed turtle, Indian tent turtle, Indian soft-shell turtle and narrow headed soft-shell turtle, besides 62 species of fish have been recorded.

About 350 resident as well as migratory birds have been recorded. These include great crested grebe, spot billed pelican, white bellied pelican, lesser adjutant stork, white winged duck, Bayer’s pochard, greater spotted eagle, Bengal florican, pale capped pigeon, great pied hornbill, marsh babbler, Jordon's babbler, black breasted parrot bill, etc.


The annual floods cause a crisis for the wildlife. Grazing and siltation are also changing the habitat quality.

Altingia is a genus of 11 species of flowering plants in the family Altingiaceae, formerly often treated in the related family Hamamelidaceae.[1] The genus is native to southeastern Asia, in Bhutan, Cambodia, southern China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is named in honor of Willem Arnold Alting (1724–1800), the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies when Noronha visited Java.[2]

They are evergreentrees growing to 10–50 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, simple unlobed, 4–15 cm long and 2–7 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are produced in a dense globose inflorescence, similar to those of the related genus Liquidambar.

Some recent genetic evidence suggests Altingia should be merged into a broader circumscription of Liquidambar, but other evidence maintains their separation.[3][4][5]

Selected species

The leaves are used as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera, including Endoclita damor.


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  1. ^Zhang Zhiyun, Zhang Hongda (Chang Hung-ta), and Peter K. Endress. 2003. "Altingia". pages 19-21. In: Wu Zhengyi, Peter H. Raven, and Hong, Deyuan (editors). Flora of China volume 9. Science Press: Beijing, China; Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
  2. ^Hayne F. G. 1830: Getreue Darstellung und Beschreibung der in der Arzneykunde gebräuchlichen Gewächse. Vol. 11. Berlin. - Online
  3. ^Stephanie M. Ickert-Bond; Jun Wen (2006), "Phylogeny and biogeography of Altingiaceae: Evidence from combined analysis of five non-coding chloroplast regions", Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 39 (2): 512–528, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.12.003, PMID 16439163 
  4. ^Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond; Kathleen B. Pigg; Jun Wen (2005), "Comparative infructescence morphology in Liquidambar (Altingiaceae) and its evolutionary significance", American Journal of Botany, 92 (8): 1234–1255, doi:10.3732/ajb.92.8.1234, PMID 21646145. 
  5. ^Stephanie M. Ickert-Bond; Kathleen B. Pigg; Jun Wen (2007), "Comparative infructescence morphology in Altingia (Altingiaceae) and discordance between morphological and molecular phylogenies", American Journal of Botany, 94 (7): 1094–1115, doi:10.3732/ajb.94.7.1094, PMID 21636478 

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