In Cultivation

When I first begun exploring for plants in the Himalaya, when visiting the gardens of specialist gardeners who grew some plants
with Himalayan names, the owners would sometimes show me a prized specimen, informing that I would, of course, recognise it.
Being relatively knew to Himalayan expeditions and its flora (which runs to thousands of species), this seemed often an unrealistic
expectation, despite my botanical background and passion for plants!  Memory is a fallible thing, plants often vary a lot, such that even
if I had seen the same species in the Himalaya (and had been able to recognise it whilst in the mountains or subsequently), its appearance
may well have been rather different. I also started to realise that a significant proportion of plants in cultivation in Western Gardens under
names of species from the Himalaya, were in fact, impostors - having been misidentified!

This was brought home to me when I was given 5 plants with Himalayan species names grown from a well-known rock garden seed exchange
at an early meeting of The Himalayan Plant Association in Scotland.  I grew them on in what was to become The Kohli Memorial Himalayan Garden -
ALL FIVE TURNED OUT TO HAVE BEEN MISIDENTIFIED; ALL BELONGED (MORE OR LESS) TO THE CORRECT GENUS BUT THE SPECIES NAMES WERE INCORRECT.
My informal investigations over the past 30 years suggest AT LEAST 50% of plants grown under 'Himalayan' names are misidentified....

Let me provide some examples.


Comments