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2Assistant Professor, P.G. and Research Department of Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology, Presidency College (Autonomous), Kamarajar Road, Chennai 600 005, Tamil Nadu, India
3Associate Professor, P.G. and Research Department of Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology, Presidency College (Autonomous), Kamarajar Road, Chennai 600 005, Tamil Nadu, India
Floristic diversity associated with the cultural activities of people in Palrampattu and Vadakanandal sacred groves of Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu, India were explored in the present study. Mimosaceae (11 species), Caesalpiniaceae (10 species) were the dominant families in the Palrampattu grove followed by Fabaceae (9 species), Apocynaceae (8 species), Acanthaceae (7 species), Malvaceae (7 species), Asteraceae (6 species), Capparaceae (6 species), Rubiaceae (6 species), Euphorbiaceae (5 species), Rutaceae (5 species). Mimosaceae (12 species), Fabaceae (10 species) were the dominant families in Vadakanandal sacred grove. Culturally, the deities associated with these groves are: Aagasa Karuppusami, Periyakruppu and Nondikaruppu. A total of 190 plant species belonging to 168 genera were recorded from the Palrampattu sacred grove which included herbs (59 species), shrubs (28 species), climbers (43 species), trees (58 species), and parasite (2 species). In Vadakanandal sacred grove, a total of 178 species belonging to 159 genera consisting of herbs (54 species), shrubs (27 species), climbers (39 species), trees (56 species) and parasites (2 species) were reported. Sacred groves are one of the most valuable sources of plant diversity and ethnobotany, non-timber forest products and cultural ethos. In short, the floristic diversity of the Palrampattu and Vadakandhal sacred groves act as a storehouse of medicinal plants.