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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 1, p. 157.

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THE term British India as employed in this chapter embraces, Introduc-
over and above the vast territory controlled by the Govern- tory.
ment of India, some independent countries, of which Nepal
and the Himalayas east of Sikkim are the chief, together with
Ceylon and the Malayan Peninsular which are in great part
under the Colonial Office.
The geographical and climatal features of India, upon which
the distribution of its Flora so much depends, can be here
introduced only incidentally. They will be found to be fully
discussed in chap. i of this volume 2,
The term Flora applies in this sketch to native Flowering
plants, Ferns and their allies. Collected materials do not exist
for discussing the distribution of Mosses, Hepaticae, Lichens,
and Fungi, which abound in most parts of India, or of the
Algae in its seas and fresh waters. On the other hand, such
extensive herbaria of the higher Orders of plants have, during
the last century especially, been made over most parts of
British India, that the study of their contents may be assumed
to provide sufficient materials for a review of its Flora.
The Flora of British India is more varied than that of any
other country of equal area in the eastern hemisphere, if not
in the globe. This is due to its geographical extension, em-
bracing so many degrees of latitude, temperate and tropical;
to its surface, rising from the level of the sea to heights above
the limits of vegetation; to its climates, varying from torrid
to arctic, and from almost absolute aridity to a maximum
of humidity; and to the immigration of plants from widely
different bordering countries, notably of Chinese and Malayan
In compiling this Sketch I have had the advantage of receiving valu-
able facts and suggestions from Sir G. King, K.C.I.E., F.R.S., late Director
of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Calcutta, and J. S. Gamble, MI.A., C.I.E.,
F.R.S., late of the Indian Forest Department.
2 See also Introductory Essay to those Flora Indica, by J. D. Hooker and
Thomas Thomson, pp. 280,with two maps (London: Pamplin & Co., I855).

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