Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 681- 86, 2010.

 

Traditional Plant Fencing and its Conservatory Nature in Kasaragod District, Kerala, India

 

Subrahmanya Prasad K* andRaveendran K

 

Department of Post Graduate Studies & Research in Botany

Sir Syed College, Taliparamba, Kannur � 670 142

Email:prasadks.1090@rediffmail.com

 

Issued: 01 June, 2010

 

Abstract

 

Villages of Kasaragod District are centres of agricultural practices.The fields often face the threat of wild animals and grazing.To overcome these problems temporary or permanent fences are made using different plants.These fences not only protect the fields but also play an important role in the conservation of some plants.The paper lists 67 plant species used by the villagers of Kasaragod District, Kerala for fencing.

Key Words :, traditional fencing, plants, Kasaragod District

 

Introduction

����������� Kasaragod District is located between 110181N and 120481N and 740411E and 750261E.It is bordered on the North and East by Karnataka State, while the Western boundary is formed by a long stretch of coastline and South by Kannur District.Topographically it consists of a sandy coast, an undulating plateau and mountainous high range.The midland covers 2/3 of the total area and plays a significant role in the economy as these are the centre of agriculture.Like anywhere else these areas also face the threat of grazing, attack by wild animals and entry of human beings.To overcome these problems the rural people developed unique fencing methods through trial and error method.The village people construct permanent or temporary boundaries around their field or courtyard using different plants.Present study is aimed at the elucidation of different plants used for traditional fencing.

 

Methodology

����������� Extensive field trips were carried out to different villages of Kasaragod district. Personal observation of the process of construction of these fences were done and recorded. Informations regarding the different plants used for this purpose, their properties, uses, effectiveness are collected through personal interview with the villagers. Plants were collected, made into herbarium, identified using floras ( Hooker J D, 1892 � 1897; Gamble J S & Fischer C E C, 1915 - -1936; Manilal K S & Sivarajan V V,1982; Mathew K M, 1984; Ramachandran V S & Nair V J,1988; Gopalakrishna Bhat K,2003; Anil Kumar et al;2005). The voucher specimens were deposited at the SSC herbaria.

 

Observations

From present study it is clear that the village people are using a total of 67 plant species belonging to 46 genera and 25 families, either live or in dried state for fencing. The different plants used for fencing, their family, local name, habit, condition are listed in table 1. 36 spinous or thorny plants are used for this purpose as these help to prevent entry into fields. The plants with thickfoliage cause obstruction to sight of cattle, there by preventing grazing. Adhadodazeylanica Medikus., Duranta erecta L., Euphorbia tirucalli L., Hibiscus spp., Jatropha spp.,Justicia gendarussa Burm.f., Pedilanthus tithymaloides (L.) Poit., are preferred due to their unpalatability to cattle.Acacia caesia (L.) Willd., A.torta (Roxb.) Craib., Caesalpinia mimosoides Lam., Lantana camara L., Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC., Pandanus spp. make their presence as they form impenetrable thickets.Bamboos, cacti, Jatropha spp., Pandanus spp. and Vitex spp. prevent soil erosion.Bambusa arundinacea(Retz.) Roxb., Bombax ceiba L., Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn., Hopea ponga (Dennst.) Mabberly, Pandanus spp., Terminalia travancorensis Wight &Arn. and Vitex spp. act as wind breakers and also increase the firmness of the fences.Ornamental plants are often planted along these fences to impart attraction to eyes while in some areas these were supplemented with many fruit yielding climbers to make them economically important.

 

Table 1. Plants used for Traditional Fencing.

 

Sl. No.

Botanical Name

Family

Local Name

Habit

Condition

Role

1.

Acacia caesia (L.) Willd.

Mimosaceae

�Kaadu seege� Chende mullu�

Climbing

prickly shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

2.

Acacia chundra Willd.

Mimosaceae

�Kaachu�, �Khadhira�

Small tree

Dried / Live

Mechanical barrier

3.

Acacia sinuata (Lour.) Merr.

Mimosaceae

Seege

Prickly climbing shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

4.

*Acacia torta (Roxb.) Craib.

Mimosaceae

�Chende mullu�

Prickly climbing shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

5.

*Adhatodazeylanica Medikus.

Acanthaceae

�Aadusoge�

Large shrub

Live

Planted on the boundary

6.

*Agave���������� americana L.

Agavaceae

�Daddoli�

Stout shrub

Live

Mechanical barrier

7.

Agave sisalana Perr.ex Engelm.

Agavaceae

�Daddoli�

Stout shrub

Live

Mechanical barrier

8.

Alangium salvifolium (L.f.) Wangerin ssp. hexapetalum (Lamk.) Wangerin

Alangiaceae

�Ankole-mara�

Large straggling shrub

Dried / Live

Mechanical barrier

9.

*Bambusa arundinacea (Retz.) Roxb.

Poaceae

�Bidiru�

Large thorny bamboo

Dried / Live

Wind breaker

10.

Barleria prionites L.

Acanthaceae

�Mullu-gorate�

Spinous under shrub

Live

Prevents entry

11.

Bobax ceiba L.

Bombacaceae

�Kempu booruga�, �Shaalmalee�

Large tree

Live

Grown on boundaries

12.

Borassus���������� flabellifer L.

Arecaceae

�Taali mara�

Tall palm

Dried leaf

Mechanical barrier

13.

Bougainvillea x buttiana

Holttum & Standey

Nyctaginaceae

�Kaagadada hoovina gida�

Spinous climber

Dried/live

Mechanical barrier

14.

Bougainvillea glabra Choisy.

Nyctaginaceae

'Kagadada hoovina gida�

Spinous climber

Dried/live

Mechanical barrier

15.

Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb.

Caesalpiniaceae

�Gajjuga�, �Kalenji kaai�

Scandent prickly shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

16.

Caesalpinia mimosoides Lam.

Caesalpiniaceae

�Cheemullu�

Prickly scandent shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

17.

Canthium coromandelicum (Burm.f.) Alston

Rubiaceae

�Kaare-gida�

Stout spinous shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

18.

Canthium rheedii DC.

Rubiaceae

�Madimal kare�

Scandent spinous shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

19.

Carissa carandas L.

Apocynaceae

�Karande�

Large armed shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

20.

*Carissa congesta Wight.

Apocynaceae

�Karande�

Large armed shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

21.

Caryota urens L.

Arecaceae

�Baini mara�, �Eendu�

Tall palm

Dried leaf

Mechanical barrier

22.

Casuarina equisetifolia L.

Casuarinaceae

�Gaali-mara�

Large tree

Live

Wind breaker

23.

Catunaregam spinosa (Thunb.) Tirveng.

Rubiaceae

�Maggare�

Large armed shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

24.

Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn.

Bombacaceae

�Booruga�

Large tree

Live

Planted on boundaries

25.

Cereus peruvianus (L.) Mill.

Cactaceae

�Kalli�

Arborescent cactus

Live

Prevents entry

26.

Cordia cylindristachya Roemer & Schultes.

Boraginaceae

 

Shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

27.

Corypha umbraculifera L.

Arecaeae

�Pane�

Tall palm

Dried leaf

Mechanical barrier

28.

Duranta erecta L.

Verbenaceae

�Hucchu elasi�

Erect or straggling shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

29.

Erythrina variegataL. var. orientalis (L.) Merr.

Papilionaceae

�Pongaare�, �Halivana�

Large armed tree

Live

Planted on boundary

30.

Euphorbia antiquorum L.

Euphorbiaceae

�Chadurakalli�

Fleshy spinous shrub

Live

Prevents entry

31.

*Euphorbia neriifolia L.

Euphorbiaceae

�Elekalli�

Fleshy spinous shrub

Live

Prevents entry

32.

Euphorbia nivulia Buch.-Ham.

Euphorbiaceae

�Kalli�

Fleshy spinous shrub

Live

Prevents entry

33.

Euphorbia����������� tirucalli L.

Euphorbiaceae

�Kolkalli�

Fleshy shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

34.

Furcraea foetida (L.)Haw.

Agavaceae

 

Stout shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

35.

Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.)Walp.

Papilionaceae

�Itina gida�

Small tree

Live

Planted on boundary

36.

Hibiscus rosa sinensis L.

Malvaceae

�Daasavala�

Large shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

37.

Hibiscus schizopetalus(Mast.) Hook.f.

Malvaceae

�Jaali daasavala�

Large shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

38.

Hopea ponga (Dennst.) Mabberly

Diptero carpaceae

�Kalmara�, �Karimara�

Large tree

Live

Planted on boundary

39.

*Jatropha curcas L.

Euphorbiaceae

�Bili almuda�

Large shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

40.

Jatropha gossypifolia L.

Euphorbiaceae

�Govalmuda�

Small shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

41.

Justicia betonica L.

Acanthaceae

�Sanna aadusoge�

Scandent shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

42.

Justicia gendarussa Burm.f.

Acanthaceae

�Vatamkolli�

Under shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

43.

*Lantana camara L.

Verbenaceae

�Kaadugulabi�

Rambling shrub

Dried/Live

Mechanical barrier

44.

Leea indica (Burm.f.) Merr.

Leeaceae

�Nedil�

Large shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

45.

*Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC.

Papilionaceae

�Naayi sonang�

Twining herb

Live

Prevents entry

46.

Naringi crenulata(Roxb.) Nicolson

Rutaceae

�Kadukanchi�

Spinous tree

Dried

Mechanical barrier

47.

Ochlandra scriptoria (Dennst.) C.Fischer

Poaceae

�Vaate bidiru�

Shrubby bamboo

Live/Dried

Mechanical barrier

48.

Ochlandra travancorica Benth.ex.Gamble

Poaceae

�Vaate bidiru�

Shrubby bamboo

Live/Dried

Mechanical barrier

49.

Opuntia stricta (Haw.)Haw. var. dillenii (Ker-Gawler)L. Benson

Cactaceae

�Papaasukalli�

Flat shrub

Live

Prevents entry

50.

Pandanus fascicularis Lam.

Pandanaceae

�Kedage�

Large shrub

Live

Prevents entry

51.

Pandanus kaida Kurz.

Pandanaceae

�Kaadukedage�

Large shrub

Live

Prevents entry

52.

Pandanus unipapillatus Denst.

Pandanaceae

�Mundangi�

Large shrub

Live

Prevents entry

53.

Pedilanthus tithymaloides (L.) Poit.

Euphorbiaceae

�Mandeli croton�

Succulent herb

Live

Prevents entry

54.

Petalidium barlerioides(Roth.) Nees.

Acanthaceae

�Basavanapada�

Large shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

55.

Phyllanthus myrtifolius

Euphorbiaceae

 

Under shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

56.

Plumeria rubra L.

Apocynaceae

�Gosampige�

Small tree

Live

Planted on boundary

57.

Pseudoxytenanthera stocksii (Munro.) Naithani

Poaceae

�Gandubidiru�

Slender bamboo

Live

Planted on boundary

58.

Scleropyrum pentandrum (Dennst.) Mabberley

Santalaceae

�Naaikuli�

Small armed tree

Dried / Live

Mechanical barrier

59.

Securinega leucopyrus (Willd.) Muell.-Arg.

Euphorbiaceae

�Kurambaral�

Straggling shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

60.

Terminalia travancorensis Wight &Arn.

Combretaceae

�Kattukadukka�

Large tree

Live

Planted on boundary

61.

Thunbergia erecta (Benth.) T.Anders.

Acanthaceae

�Krishna-hoo�

Erect shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

62.

Vitex negundo L.

Verbenaceae

�Lakki�, �Nekki�

Large shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

63.

Vitex trifolia L.

Verbenaceae

�Karpura nekki�

Stout shrub

Live

Planted on boundary

64.

Ziziphus glaberrima (Sedgw.) Sant.

Rhamnaceae

�Kottakka�

Small tree

Dried

Mechanical barrier

65.

Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.

Rhamnaceae

�Bugari�

Small tree with drooping branches

Dried

Mechanical barrier

66.

Ziziphus oenoplia Mill.

Rhamnaceae

�Choori mullu�

Scandent shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

67.

Ziziphus rugosa Lam.

Rhamnaceae

�Kotte mullu�

Scrambling shrub

Dried

Mechanical barrier

 

 

Discussion

����������� On comparison with plants used for field fencing in North Gujarat (Bhasker L Punjani, 1998 ), it is clear that only 10 plants (indicated by*) are used both in Gujarat and Kerala for fencing. Sacred groves form the best example for plant conservation through belief while National Parks and sanctuaries for conservation through law. These traditional fences also help a lot in the conservation of many plants with spines and those forming impenetrable thickets, only because of their role in field fencing, otherwise by the time most of them might have disappeared from this universe. Moreover the large trees planted along the boundary act as wind breakers, thereby reducing the rate of evaporation from the field and barren land formation. Thus these traditional fences are time tested, easily affordable, easy to construct and play an important role in the conservation of many plants.

 

Acknowledgements

����������� Authors are thankful to the village people for their generous help during field survey.We are grateful to the Principal and Management, Sir Syed College, Taliparamba for providing facilities.One of the author, SPK is indebted to KSCSTE for financial support.

 

References

1.�������� Anil Kumar, N., Sivadasan, M. & Ravi, N. 2005. Flora of Pathanamthitta, Daya Publishing House, Delhi.

2.�������� Gamble,J.S. and Fischer, C.E.C. 1915 � 1936. Flora of Presidency of Madras, London.

3.�������� Gopalakrishna Bhat, K. 2003. Flora of Udupi, Indian Naturalist (R), Udupi.

4.�������� Hooker, J. D. 1892 � 1897. Flora of British India, London.

5.�������� Manilal, K. S. and Sivarajan, V. V. 1982Flora of Calicut, Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun.

6.�������� Mathew, K.M. 1984.The Flora of Tamilnadu Carnatic, Thiruchirapalli.

7.�������� Ramachandran, V. S. and Nair, V. J.1988. Flora of Cannanore, BSI, Calcutta.

8.�������� Bhasker L. Punjani. 1998. Role of Plants in field fencing in Tribal areas ofDistrict Sabarkantha (North Gujarat), Ethnobotany, 10 : 56-60.