of the Seondth and its tributaries. The latter generally flow over
a rocky or gravelly bottom, and consequently retain water for the
whole or the greater part of the year; while the beds of the former
are wide wastes of sand, almost dry for more than half the year, and
at no time, except during high flood, containing much water. The
open country is an undulating plain, poorly wooded, especially in the
black-soil tracts, but thickly peopled and closely cultivated.
The plains are occupied by Lower Vindhyan rocks, consisting of
shales and limestones with subordinate sandstones, resting upon thick,
often quartzitic, sandstones, which form low hillocks fringing them on
all sides except the north. Beyond these, the bordering hills are com-
posed of gneiss and quartzite, and of sandstone rocks intersected with
trap dikes. The blue limestone crops out in numerous places on the
surface, and is invariably found in the beds of the rivers. The stratum
below the subsoil is a soft sandstone shale, covered generally by a layer
of laterite gravel; and in many places the shale has been converted
into a hard, vitrified sandstone, forming an excellent building material.
Teak occurs in the western forests of the District, but is never
abundant. In the east and south the forest consists of sdl (Shorea
robusta), but it is often of a scrubby character. With the sdl are
associated the usual species of Woodfordia, Indigofera, Casearia,
Phyllanthus, Bauhinia, Grewia, Zizyphus, Flueggea, and other shrubs
and small trees. The remaining forests are of the usual Central
Provinces type, teak being associated with sdj (7érminalia tomentosa),
lendid (Lagerstroemia parviflora), karrd (Cleistanthus collinus), and
b jdsâl (Pterocarpus MarsuAium). Babzrl (Acacia arabica) is very
common in the open country. Mahud (Bassia latifolia) and mango
are plentiful in the south of the District, but not. so common in the
west and north, where in places the country is markedly bare of trees.
The heavy climbers include Butea superba, Spatholobus Roxburghii,
and Millettia auriculata. The herbaceous vegetation, consisting of
grasses and of species of Compositae, Legwminosae, Acanthaceae, and
other orders, though conspicuous during the rainy season, withers away
in the hot weather.
In proportion to their extent the forests are now only sparsely
inhabited by game. Buffalo and bison are found in small numbers
in the east and south-east. Tigers and leopards are fairly common,
but deer of all kinds are rare, and good heads are seldom obtained.
Wild dogs are numerous and are very injurious to the game.
The heat is especially great in the summer months, on account of
the red gravel soil and the closeness of rock to the surface. Fever is
very prevalent in the autumn, and epidemics of cholera have been
frequent. This may be attributed to the universal preference of tank
to well water for drinking purposes.