Misidentified entries in 'efloraofIndia' (Eastern Himalaya)


Berberis ?dictylophylla  (Berberidaceae)
The person who sent in the images of this barberry from Mustang district, Nepal, thought it might be Berberis dictylophylla but
this was highly unlikely since this species had not been recorded from Nepal before, being only found in China (and by that I don't
mean Tibet proper, politically controlled by China).  I really do find it tiresome that complete guesses are made with no effort to
check whether the suggested species makes sense, geographically, altitude-wise or habitat-wise.  'Flowers of the Himalaya', which
is treated as a 'flora' when it is no such thing, merely being a guide to the mostly common species covering less than 10% of the total flora.
Even trained Indian botanists fail to check the distributions of the species included within 'Flowers of the Himalaya'!  At times they think
they have seen a species, 1000km further NW or SE than previously known or a 1000km higher or lower than ever known before or in a
totally different habitat.  They seem to think they can identify plants by glancing at single images of plants, often not showing the diagnostic
characteristics and instantly 'matching' with single images in a book or on-line.   This is not a reliable way of identifying plants!

The problem with such an approach is that others tend to blindly accept the suggestions, especially if made by a senior Indian botanist!
Fortunately, in this case there is a Nepalese specialist in the genus - in fact he undertook a revision of Berberis in Nepal for his Ph.D.  He
considers that the plant photographed at Muktinath is in fact B.angulosa but it would have been informative for him to comment about the
suggestion of B.dictylophylla and how one distinguishes between it and B.angulosa.

According to 'Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal' (Hara & Williams, 1979) B.angulosa has a distribution of Nepal to Sikkim, Assam
and SE Tibet. The current efloraofChina misses out B.angulosa due to difficulties with the treatment of the genus by the Chinese author; a
British specialist in the genus also worked on the genus and will be publishing a full account separately. See: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=103816


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