The Western Ghats are recognized as one of the world’s 8 hot spots of biological diversity and contain an extensive portion of India’s plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Since Goa constitutes as a part of the Western Ghats many herbs and endemic plants bloom during the monsoon season.
By September, the magical monsoon casts an iridescent spell on the Goan hills, rice paddies and plateaus, creating abundant floral wonderlands. The monsoon flora appears lush and green due to the abundant rains, by August and September these magnificent plants bear a colourful array of flowers varying in shapes and sizes. They then bear seeds that will cosy up into the soil until the return of the following rainy season.
Gloriosa Superba - the Glory Lily (pictured above) also known by several other names. One being ‘Tiger’s Claw’ as the petal colours strikingly resemble the distinctive colours of a tiger. It's a spectacular sight. However, in nature, bright red is typically associated with danger – every part of this rare plant is poisonous, especially the underground swollen roots called tubers.
Lotus & Water Lilies flourish during the monsoon due to the large spouts of rainwater that collect in streams and ponds around Goa.
The GulMohur, which is also known as the "flamboyant", probably due to its incandescent orange flowers that bloom in anticipation of the monsoon, leaving orange blanket-covered roads and pathways. A water-thirsty plant that requires a lot of water which makes Goa an ideal home.
Samanea Saman, Most commonly known as the “rain tree”, which is nyctinastic (sleeping plant) meaning that the leaves fold closed during rainy-weather and in the evening. “It has been variously attributed to the way the leaves fold during rainy days (allowing rain to fall through the tree and reach the soil below)...”
The Rain Tree is identified by its broad umbrella-like canopy and pink sea urchin-like flowers - when in bloom look like tufts of pink cotton candy around the Goan forests.
These are just a few of the many interesting florae that blossoms and thrives during the monsoon season in Goa. The plentiful rains give life to hundreds of living creatures from the woodpeckers that burrow their homes deep into the trunks of blossoming trees to the tiny (and annoying) ants and insects that fly hopelessly around looking for any glimmer of light. Monsoon is a glorious time of regeneration and rejuvenation. Where everything comes to life to complete their essential part in the engaging cycle of nature. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nature always wears the colours of the spirit” and Goa embraces a vibrant spirit indeed. From the dynamic culture and historic architecture to the blossoming biodiversity that encompasses this charming state.
We here at Vaayu would love to get more insights on all the species of flora and fauna indigenous to Goa. Comment below and let us in on any other intriguing facts or experiences you’ve had on your monsoon nature walks.