Flowers of the North-Western Himalaya - an on-line digital guide

YOU MUST EXAMINE PLANTS  CLOSELY TO RELIABLY IDENTIFY THEM.  PATIENCE, ATTENTION-TO-DETAIL AND THE METHODICAL APPROACH OF A 'PLANT DETECTIVE', ARE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS TO SUCCESSFULLY  ARRIVE AT AN IDENTIFICATION WHICH CAN BE RELIED UPON. YOU NEED TO EXHIBIT 'FORENSIC' SKILLS. QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY IS WHAT MATTERS. NOWADAYS, TOO MANY 'HIMALAYAN' PLANTS ARE HASTILY  MISIDENTIFIED!  THIS HAS LED TO PRINTED CHECK-LISTS AND FLORAS PRODUCED IN INDIA BEING LITTERED WITH A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF BOTH COMPLETELY INCORRECT AND OUT-OF-DATE INFORMATION DUE TO ISOLATIONISM FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD.  AND NOW WE HAVE THE INTERNET, RIDDLED WITH SITES WITH MANY MISIDENTIFICATIONS.  UNFORTUNATELY, VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO IDENTIFY PLANTS.  SORRY BUT WHY SHOULD JUST ANYBODY, WITHOUT RELEVANT TRAINING NOR EXPERTISE, EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO CORRECTLY IDENTIFY THEM SIMPLY BY GLANCING AT ONE OR TWO NON-CLOSE-UP IMAGES WHICH DO NOT SHOW DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERISTICS? THIS SITUATION APPLIES TO WILD FLOWERS AND PLANTS IN CULTIVATION. 

I HAVE BEGUN AN OVERALL DETAILED GENUS-BY-GENUS GUIDE TO THE FLORA OF THE NORTH-WESTERN HIMALAYA, SEE: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/fowh/.

FOR AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THE SPECIES COVERED SO FAR, GO TO THE ENTRY FOR IMPATIENS GLANDULIFERA, WITHIN IMPATIENS, AS THIS ILLUSTRATES WELL THE POTENTIAL DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY HAS TO TRANSFORM THE STUDY OF FLOWERING PLANTS AND GREATLY IMPROVE THE STANDARD AND RELIABILITY OF PLANT IDENTIFICATION - WHICH IS DESPERATELY NEEDED IN THE HIMALAYA (AND MANY OTHER REGIONS OF THE WORLD). THERE ARE CURRENTLY SOME 50 IMAGES ON THIS PAGE SHOWING CLOSE-UP DETAIL OF FLORAL AND FOLIAGE - A DIFFERENT WORLD TO THE SINGLE, OFTEN GENERAL IMAGES AVAILABLE PER SPECIES IN SUCH GUIDES AS 'FLOWERS OF THE HIMALAYA' (Polunin & Stainton, published in 1984 AROUND THE TIME I BEGAN MY STUDIES ON FLOWERS OF THE NORTH-WEST HIMALAYA) - WHICH HAS BEEN A STANDARD REFERENCE FOR DECADES, ALBEIT WITH DESCRIPTIONS OF APPROXIMATELY ONE TENTH OF THE TOTAL FLORA OF THE PARTS OF THE HIMALAYAN RANGE IT ATTEMPTED TO COVER. 



© Chris Chadwell


© Chris Chadwell

SURELY, ANYONE LOOKING THROUGH MY PHOTOS (TAKEN ON A MODEST DIGITAL CAMERA) CANNOT FAILED BUT TO REALISE JUST WHAT POTENTIAL EXISTS AND GIVEN THE FOOLISH RESTRICTIONS NOW IN PLACE PROHIBITING THE COLLECTION OF PRESSED, DRIED SPECIMENS, FOR USE IN HERBARIA (THE TRADITIONAL WAY TO IDENTIFY PLANTS), WE NOW HAVE A MEANS OF STUDYING PLANTS WHICH ANYONE WHO CAN MASTER THE BASICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND FUNCTION IN A METHODICAL FASHION, WHILST BEING WILLING TO EXPLORE INTO COUNTRYSIDE, CAN CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS.

I URGE ANYONE WHO HAS TAKEN PHOTOS OF PLANTS IN THE NORTH-WEST HIMALAYA TO CONTACT ME, WITH A VIEW TO SENDING THEM FOR ME (FREE-OF-CHARGE) TO IDENTIFY OR CONFIRM IDENTIFICATIONS OF - THE MORE IMAGES I GET TO SEE, THE BETTER MY UNDERSTANDING OF HIMALAYAN FLORA AND YOU MAY WELL HAVE SOME OF SPECIES I HAVE NEVER COME ACROSS BEFORE OR AT A STAGE OF GROWTH NEW TO ME; IT IS WORTHWHILE PHOTOGRAPHING PLANTS AT EVERY PERIOD OF THE YEAR, ALTHOUGH SHOTS WHEN A PLANT IS IN FULL FLOWER ARE THE MOST VALUABLE, THOSE OF FRUITS AND FOLIAGE ALSO MATTER, AS ONE NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO RECOGNISE SPECIES YEAR-ROUND.



Comments