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Journal of Indian Botany.

Vol. I. OCTOBER, 1919. No. 2.




T. A. Sabnis, B.A., B.Sc.

St. Xavier's College, Bombay.


I had the opportunity of visiting a portion of the great Indian Desert, in the company of Fr. Blatter and Prof. Hallberg, in the months of October and November 1917. The year was remarkable for its abnormal rainfall of over 40 inches as against the average of 10 — 13 inches ; and the herbaceous flora had survived till the time of our visit. On seeing the plants from the different habitats of the Desert identified by Fr. Blatter and Prof. Hallberg, it occurred to me that a treatise on the physiological anatomy of the Indian Desert plants would not be out of place. For while much has been written on other desert floras, nothing has been done in that line of any Indian desert flora.

I set to work, with the view to carrying out my idea and the following treatise, in which I have confined myself to that portion of the Indian Desert which is marked in the map, is the result of my investigations.

I have taken considerable care to provide accurate sketches of the transverse sections of the leaves and the axes, as it is generally found that accurate figures give a clearer idea than long explanatory notes. The drawings have been made with the aid of Abbe's Camera Lucida ; and the different powers of the oculars and objectives have been noted. I have used a Zeiss's microscope and generally Zeiss's apochromatic objectives and compensating oculars.

I hope the essay will prove an addition to our knowledge of the Desert Flora in particular and of the comparative anatomy and physiology of plants in general.

I must use this opportunity to thank Mr. M. V. Unakar, Acting Director of the Bombay and Alibag Observatories for the meteorological data of the Indian Desert.