Misidentified entries in 'efloraofIndia' (North-West Himalaya)

1.    3 images of a white-flowered climber photographed near Thikse Gompa (Monastery), Leh, Ladakh  were thought by the photographer to belong to Asclepiadaceae family.  Another member suggested the Morrenia genus . But it could not be this, as the genus was restricted to South America (and is not known to be cultivated in Ladakh).  I think the guess came as a result of 'matching' with images on-line but as so often happens, the budding botanist failed to check where the plants came from.  The problem is that if the person suggesting the identity is a senior figure in efloraofIndia, other members are likely to accept it - even when it is completely wrong. This problem of 'matching' normally on the basis of only a single images, extends to use of 'Flowers of the Himalaya', which both Indian botanists and others seem to believe is a 'flora' (which means that every known species in a particular region or country) is covered; this is not the case for this popular guide - I estimate only about 1/10th of the total flora (albeit a majority of the commonest and showiest are included). So the users of this book, are convinced the plant they are attempting to identify, is found in it.  They frequently fail to check the written descriptions, which tell you geographical and altitudinal range along with typical habitats - IF these do not tally, then the chances are they person has misidentified the plant.  Data-bases, whether traditional printed floral guides, check-lists or floras or newer on-line data-bases, create more problems than they solve, if a significant proportion of entries are misidentified.  Unfortunately, this is the case in ALL the printed volumes by Indian botanists published since Indian Independence.  I take no pleasure in exposing this but it needs to be, otherwise the errors will be perpetuated.  I have offered to help improve the standards but not one individual Indian botanist has shown interest. I even approached in 1985 the then Director of the Botanical Survey of India, suggesting I collaborate with Indian botanists on an up-to-date flora for Ladakh but was told this was for Indian botanists .... Well, more than 30 years later, no sign of such a flora.  So instead, with the aid of an Indian amateur plant enthusiast, from summer 2018, I shall be privately publishing, on behalf of the Himalayan Plant Association, a 'Wild Flowers of Ladakh' (and three other parts of the NW Himalaya), see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/digital-photographic-guides-to-wild-flowers-of-kashmir-ladakh-lahaul-himachal-Pradesh - which will be completed is 8 parts, the first covering genera A & B.

Returning to the above wild suggestion, I wish more time was taken, rather than making wild guesses, especially the senior botanists....


The plant turned out to be Cynanchum acutum  (Apocyanaceae - the Oleander family)
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