Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, also termed Itihāsa (History) or Mahākāvya ("Great Compositions"), refer to forest and plant life at various places.
The language of these texts is the "Epic Sanskrit".
The importance of forests in Indian epics can be understood from the fact that each epic devotes one book to the forests.
Flora of the Indian epic period can be a tool to study the antiquity of Indian epics as these do not record time scales of the incident mentioned in these.
The flora of an area or of time period, refers to all plant life occurring in an area or time period, especially the naturally occurring or indigenous plant life.
Bhishma on his death-bed of arrows with the Pandavas and Krishna - Folio from the Razmnama(1761 - 1763), Persian translation of the Mahabharata, commissioned by Mughal emperor Akbar.
The Pandavas are dressed in Persian armour and robes.
These plants must have migrated to India by way of the Tethys Sea which stretched along the northern edge of the Gondwana land before the uplift of the Himalayas.
It has also been proved that Kashmir and Rajasthan once had a tropical forest, which later receded as a result of glaciation and the upthrust of the Himalayas.Prior to this upheaval, the Ganges drained northwards into the Sindhu. A fossilized trunk of a tree found in the Raniganj coal-field is nearly 30 m long and 75 cm in diameter at the butt-end and 35 cm at the top-end. Birbal Sahni as Dadoxylon, an extinct genus of plants.The divisions of Ramayana into Kandas (Books) also includes one Kanda known as Aranya Kanda – Book of the Forest.In Ramayana Kishkindha Kanda – Book of Kishkindha also discusses the geography and forestry of the region.The evolution of life on earth in geological ages indicates that man evolved only a million years ago when he lived in dense forests along with other denizens.Palaeo-botanists have examined the fossils of plants found in rocks of various ages and deduced what kind of vegetation grew in those particular geological periods. Birbal Sahni concluded from the fossils found in inter-trappean rocks that at that time estuarine conditions prevailed in India, and the flora belonged to the genera of plants found in London clay.