The chief groups, all yielding coco-nuts, pandanus fruit and yams, are Funafuti or Ellice, Nukulailai or Mitchell, Nurakita or Sophia, Nukufetau or De Peyster, Nui or Egg, Nanomana or Hudson, and Niutao or Lynx.
Bamboos and palms, with Pandanus and Dracaena, are also abundant.
The higher mountains rise abruptly from the plains; on their slopes, clothed below almost exclusively with the more tropical forms, a vegetation of a warm temperate character, chiefly evergreen, soon begins to prevail, comprising Magnoliaceae, Ternstroemiaceae, subtropical Rosaceae, rhododendron, oak, Ilex, Symplocos, Lauraceae, Pinus longifolia, with mountain forms of truly tropical orders, palms, Pandanus, Musa, Vitis, Vernonia, and many others.
Plantains, tree-ferns, bamboos, several Calami, and other palms, and Pandanus, are abundant at the lower levels.
The coast region is characterized by mangroves, Pandanus, rattans, and similar palms with long flexible stems, and the middle region by the great rice-fields, the coco-nut and areca palms, and the usual tropical plants of culture.
The natives live very largely on vegetable food, among the most important plants which supply them being the taro, yam, banana, bread-fruit, arrow-root, pandanus and coco-nut.
The most characteristic trees are the coco-nut palm, pandanus and mangrove.
Mats were also made of the leaves of the hala tree (Pandanus odoratissimus).
A structure called the cool orchid house is set apart for the accommodation of the many lovely mountain species from South America and India, such as odontoglossums, masdevallias, &c., and in this the more uniform the temperature can be kept the better, that in summer varying between Cyanophyllum (Miconia) Cycas Dieffenbachia Dipladenia* Dracaena Eranthemum Eucharist Euphorbia Ficus Franciscea Gardenia Gesnera Gloriosa* Gloxinia f Heliconia f Hoffmannia I pomaea * Ixora Jacobinia Jasminum* Luculia Maranta Medinilla Meyenia Musa Nelumbium f Nepenthes Nymphaea f Oxera * Pancratium f Pandanus Passiflora* Pavetta Petraea * Pleroma* Poinsettia Rondeletia Sanchezia Schubertia* Scutellaria Stephanotis Tabernaemontana Terminalia Thunbergia Torenia Thyrsacanthus Tydaea Vinca Abutilon Acacia Agapanthus Agathaea Agave Alonsoa Aloysia Amaryllis Ardisia Asparagus Aspidistra Asystasia (Mackaya) Azalea Bauera Begonia Blandfordia Bomarea * Boronia Bougainvillea * Bouvardia Brugmansia Calceolaria Camellia Campanula Canna Celosia Cestrum * Chorizema* Chrysanthemum Cineraria 60° and 65°, and in winter from 45° to 60°.
They also made various kinds of mats, baskets and fans from the leaves of the pandanus, the bark of the hibiscus, from species of bohmeria or other Urticaceous plants.
The vacoa or vacois, (Pandanus utilis) is largely grown, the long tough leaves being manufactured into bags for the export of sugar, and the roots being also made of use; and in the few remnants of the original forests the traveller's tree (Urania speciosa), grows abundantly.
Angustifolia, leaves of the date palm (Phoenix sylvestris), of the dwarf palm (Chamaerops Ritchiana), of the Palmyra palm (Borassus flabelliformis), of the coco-nut palm (Cocos nucifera)andof the screw pine (Pandanus odoratissimus), the munja or munj grass (Saccharum Munja) and allied grasses, and the mat grasses Cyperus textilis and C. Pangorei, from the last of which the well-known Palghat mats of the Madras Presidency are made.
Pandanus and tree-ferns abound.
There are many coco-nut palms, bread-fruit trees (Artocarpus incisa), various kinds of bananas, yams and taro, and pandanus, of which the natives eat the seeds.
Characteristic of this region are the mangrove and Pandanus, and, a little inland, the banyan (Ficus), Pisonia and Hernandia.
The forests of the granitic land, of which typical patches remain, had the characteristics of a tropical moist region, palms, shrubs, climbing and tree ferns growing luxuriantly, the trees on the mountain sides, such as the Pandanus sechellarum sending down roots over the rocks and boulders from 70 to 100 ft.
Flora and Faunx.-Although the vegetation of the Nicobars has received much desultory attention from scientific observers, it has not been subjected to a systematic examination by the Indian Forest Department like that of the Andamans, and indeed the forests are quite inferior in economic value to those of the more northerly group; besides fruit trees - such as the coco-nut (Cocos nucifera), the betel-nut (Areca catechu), and the mellori (Pandanus leeram) - a thatching palm (Nipa fruticans) and various timber trees have some commercial value, but only one timber tree (Myristica irya)would be considered first-class in the Andamans.
This contains a large variety of hard-wooded and valuable timber trees, including species of Weinmannia (Lalona 1), Elaeocarpus (Voanana), Dalbergia (Vbambbana), Nuxia (Valanirana), Podocarpus, a pine, the sole species in the island (Hetatra),Tambourissa (Amhara), Neobaronia (Harah¢ra), Ocotea (Varongy) and probably ebony, Diospyros sp., &c. The following trees are characteristic of Madagascar vegetation, some of them being endemic, and others very prominent features in the landscape: the traveller's-tree (Urania speciosa), with its graceful crown of plantain-like leaves growing like an enormous fan at the top of a tall trunk, and affording a supply of pure cool water, every part of the tree being of some service in building; the Raphia (rofia) palm (Sagus ruffia); the tall fir-like Casuarina equisetifolia or beef wood tree, very prominent on the eastern coast, as well as several species of screw-pine (Pandanus); the Madagascar spice (Ravintsara madagascariensis), a large forest tree, with fragrant fruit, leaves and bark; a beautiful-leaved species of Calophyllum; and the Tangena (Tanghinia veneniflua), formerly employed as a poison ordeal.
The lee sides of the larger islands, however, have grassy plains suitable for grazing, with scattered trees, chiefly Pandanus, and ferns.
The flora has also some Australian and New Zealand affinities (resembling in this respect the New Caledonia and New Hebrides groups), shown especially in these western districts by the Pandanus, by certain acacias and others.
Papuans have usually a great dislike to d 'a ' rain and carry a mat of pandanus leaves as a protection against it.