Many of the inhabitants are the well-known Banyan merchants of the east coast of Africa and Arabia.
The intermediate tract is a region of rich cultivation, dotted with great banyan trees, thickets of bamboos, exquisite palm foliage and mango groves.
The oleander grows here to be a tree, and there is a banyan tree, said to be the only one growing out of doors in the United States.
The silk-cotton tree (Bombax ceiba), miomba, tamarisk, copal tree (Hymenaea courbaril) are frequent, besides sycamores, banyan trees (Ficus indica) and the deleb palm (Borassus aethiopum).
In the lowlands and on the lower mountain slopes the forests are composed chiefly of broad-leaved trees, common among which are the bamboo, the coco and other palms, and the banyan tree; but on the higher mountain slopes pines are most abundant.
The villages lie thickly scattered, consisting of low thatched cottages, and surrounded by patches of garden land, or groves of banyan, pipal and pakar trees.
As a whole, the arable tract is a treeless region, except around the villages, which are encircled by fine mango, pipal, banyan and tamarind trees, and intersected with green shady lanes of bamboo.
There is also in these districts a Hindu element in the population, for intercourse has also been maintained for some centuries between India and northern Madagascar, and in some towns the Banyan Indian element is as prominent as the Arab element.
Evergreen oaks are a marked characteristic of the period, more than half the Swiss species being allied to living American forms. Fig-trees referred to 17 species occur, all with undivided leathery leaves; one is close to the banyan, another to the indiarubber-tree.
There are Parsee, Banyan, Goanese and Arab traders, and about 300 Europeans, besides half-caste Portuguese.