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CHECK-LISTS AND FLORAS PRODUCED IN INDIA BEING LITTERED WITH A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF BOTH COMPLETELY INCORRECT AND OUT-OF-DATE INFORMATION DUE TO ISOLATIONISM FROM THE FEST OF THE WORLD.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 BY GLANCING AT ONE OR TWO NON-CLOSE-UP IMAGES WHICH DO NOT SHOW DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERISTICS - THIS APPLIES TO WILD FLOWERS AND PLANTS IN CULTIVATION. MY SPECIALISM IS IN HIMALAYAN FLORA.  IN THE WEST, SPECIALIST GARDENERS HAVE HAD A LONG-STANDING IN ATTEMPTING TO GROW SPECIES OF PRIMULA, RHODODENDRON, MECONOPSIS AND NUMEROUS OTHER GENERA ORIGINATING IN THE WORLD'S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN RANGE; MY OWN INFORMAL RESEARCH SUGGESTS AT LEAST HALF OF PLANTS IN CULTIVATION, WHETHER FROM SEED EXCHANGES, COMMERCIAL SEED COMPANIES OR SPECIALIST NURSERIES, HAVE BEEN MISIDENTIFIED I.E. WHAT ONE ENDS UP GROWING DOES NOT MATCH WHAT IS SAYS ON THE LABEL.  IN OUR MODERN WORLD, THERE IS A FALSE BELIEF THAT IDENTIFYING PLANTS IS SIMPLE AND ANYBODY CAN DO IT, DESPITE NO RELEVANT TRAINING NOR EXPERIENCE.  MY APPROACH IS THAT IF READING AND DIGESTING INFORMATION IN DEPTH IS TOO MUCH FOR YOU, THEN GIVE UP AND TAKE UP A LESS EXACTING HOBBY OR PROFESSION...SORRY.

'West Himalayan Blue-poppy' (MECONOPSIS  ACULEATA) in Himachal Pradesh


THIS WEB-SITE ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN A FRESH APPROACH BY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE WONDERS OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMBINED WITH CHRIS' OWN HARD-WON KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO RELIABLY IDENTIFY PLANTS, ACCUMULATED OVER SOME 45 YEARS, PARTICULARLY THOSE OF THE NORTH-WEST HIMALAYA - THOUGH BE WARNED, IT TAKES TIME & EFFORT TO ACCUMULATE THE NECESSARY SKILL, NOT-TO-MENTION DEDICATION, TO CONSISTENTLY PHOTOGRAPH PLANTS TO THE REQUIRED STANDARD.  EXPERTISE IS NOT ACQUIRED OVERNIGHT, TAKING YEARS, IF NOT DECADES, TO BUILD UP IF ATTEMPTED ALONE.  IT IS NOT A QUICK NOR EASY PROCESS.  HOWEVER, WITH CHRIS' HELP, THINGS CAN BE SPEEDED UP - SO IT MAKES SENSE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIS OFFER TO HELP (FOR FREE);  SEE BELOW AND ON THE LEFT-HAND-SIDE NAVIGATION BAR FOR DETAILS.  THE BEST WAY TO LEARN IS TO BE INSTRUCTED AND TUTORED BY THOSE WITH GREATER KNOWLEDGE.  TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE WILLING TO HELP.  IMPROVE YOUR PLANT PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS AND THEN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SUBMIT IMAGES TO BE USED ON THIS SITE.  CHRIS NEEDS MORE PHOTOGRAPHERS TO SEND IN IMAGES OF PLANTS TAKEN IN THE NORTH-WEST HIMALAYA.

  ONE ALSO NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND THE BASICS OF PLANT IDENTIFICATION - WHICH ARE BASED UPON EXAMINING PRESSED SPECIMENS OF PLANTS IN HERBARIA.

YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO LOCATE PLANTS IN THE WILD OR CULTIVATION (IF OF KNOWN PROVENANCE AND TENDS TO MOSTLY APPLY TO THOSE IN WESTERN COUNTRIES LIVING IN TEMPERATE CLIMATES, WHERE BOTANICAL AND PRIVATE GARDENS HAVE CONDITIONS SUITABLE FOR GROWING 'HIMALAYAN' SPECIES; FEW BOTANICAL OR PRIVATE GARDENS IN INDIA HAVE CLIMATIC CONDITIONS WHERE MOUNTAIN FLORA CAN BE GROWN). EXAMINE THEM INTENSIVELY AND KNOW HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THEM TO A HIGH STANDARD, SUCH THAT YOU CAN CONSISTENTLY TAKE CLOSE-UPS (IN FOCUS) OF ALL THE IMPORTANT PARTS OF EACH SPECIES, NOT JUST TAKE A SMALL NUMBER OF POOR-QUALITY IMAGES SNAPPED ON THE WRONG TYPE OF CAMERA, WHICH  FREQUENTLY END UP OUT-OF-FOCUS, REVEALING INSUFFICIENT DETAIL.  KINDLY NOTE THAT FOR INEXPERIENCED PHOTOGRAPHERS, SPENDING A LOT ON A LARGE, EXPENSIVE, MORE COMPLICATED CAMERA, WHICH MAY LOOK IMPRESSIVE IS LIKELY TO MEAN THE IMAGES YOU TAKE WILL BE OUT-OF-FOCUS! IT TAKE PRACTISE TO 'MASTER' ANY CAMERA.

CHRIS IS PREPARED TO GUIDE ENTHUSIASTS ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS TO IMPROVE THEIR BOTANICAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND PLANT IDENTIFICATION SKILLS.  A GOOD STARTING POINT IS TO CAREFULLY STUDY AND DIGEST THE PAGES OF THE TOP HALF OF THIS WEB-SITE.  IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, FEEL FREE TO CONTACT CHRIS: chrischadwell261@btinternet.com. 

Chris Chadwell (Top Left) after delivering a digital presentation to staff in the Botany Department, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal Campus, Srinagar, India with Mrs Urvashi Suri presenting Professor Zafar Reshi with a Kohli Memorial Gold Medal on behalf of The Himalayan Plant Association, in recognition of the department's significant contribution to the study of Himalayan flora.

 Chris Chadwell's web-site, see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/home

Himalayan Plant Association details, see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/latest-situation

A high pass in the Trans-Himalaya between Rupshu and Lahaul

 THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVOLUTIONISE THE IDENTIFICATION OF HIMALAYAN FLORA BUT CHRIS NEEDS HELP TO IMPROVE COVERAGE OF SUCH A NUMERICALLY LARGE FLORA, GROWING OVER A VAST AREA, ESPECIALLY AS EVERY GENUS IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYA IS IN NEED OF REVISION, WITH TOO MANY LOCAL BOTANISTS STILL RELYING UPON HOOKER'S 'FLORA OF BRITISH INDIA' AS A STANDARD REFERENCE - THE VOLUMES OF THIS ARE BETWEEN 100-150 YEARS OUT-OF-DATE.  MUCH GREATER INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION IS ESSENTIAL, RATHER THAN CONTINUED ISOLATION.  THIS NEEDS TO BE SAID AND ACCEPTED. REGRETTABLY, SUCCESSIVE INDIAN GOVERNMENTS HAVE REPEATEDLY DISCOURAGED COLLABORATION WITH FOREIGN BOTANISTS AND PLANT ENTHUSIASTS.  BEFORE ONE CAN CONSERVE A FLORA, IT MUST BE STUDIED THOUROUGHLY.  THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED IN THE NORTH-WESTERN HIMALAYA.  FEW INDIAN BOTANISTS ARE KEEN ON GOING UP INTO THE MOUNTAINS WITH ALMOST NONE VENTURING 100m BEYOND TRACKSIDES AND THE COMFORT OF THEIR VEHICLES - THEY RARELY, IF EVER SCRFAMBLE ABOUT ON STEEP SLOPES, UP CLIFFS OR EVEN AMONGST LARGE BOULDERS. FEW REGULARLY TREK INTO THE HILLS AND HIGHER MOUNTAINS, WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO DO, IF THE FLORA OF THIS REGION IS TO BECOME BETTER KNOWN.  UNLESS THEY DO, NUMEROUS SPECIES WILL BE MISSED ALTOGETHER, LEADING TO FALSE CLAIMS OF RARITY.  AS 'RED LISTED' SPECIES ARE BASED UPON WHETHER PRESSED SPECIMENS OCCUR IN INDIAN HERBARIA COLLECTED IN RECENT DECADES, IF INDIAN BOTANISTS FAIL TO EXPLORE IN SAID HABITATS, MOUNTAIN SPECIES FOUND IN LARGE QUANTITY IN THESE PLACES MAY INCORRECTLY BE RECORDED AS 'RARE'.  CHRIS CHADWELL HAS BOTANIZED IN THESE SUPPOSEDLY 'INACCESSIBLE' PLACES AND CAN RELIABLY IDENTIFIY PLANTS, SO CAN STATE CATEGORICALLY THAT MANY OF THESE SPECIES ARE IN FACT COMMON!  THIS MAKES RATHER A MOCKERY OF THE APPROACH UNDERTAKEN BY THE BOTANICAL SURVEY OF INDIA.  INTERNATIONAL BODIES ARE ADVISED THAT THE COMPLETELY UNSCIENTIFIC METHODS USED IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYA TO ASSESS RARITY CANNOT BE TRUSTED - THEY ARE NOTHING LIKE THE COVERAGE IN THE FIELD BY LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF BRITISH BOTANISTS (AMATEUR AND PROFESSIONAL) OVER CENTURIES.  A GREAT DEAL MORE SURVEY WORK IS REQUIRED IN THE NORTH-WEST HIMALAYA, UNTIL THEN, THE SITUATION IS 'DATA-DEFICIENT' FOR A LARGE PROPORTION OF THE FLORA.

PRIMULA  ELLIPTICA on a pass between Kashmir and Kishtwar

A high pass in the North-West Himalaya

Expanse of CREMANTHODIUM  DECAISNEI on a pass in Himachal Pradesh

Negotiating a land-slide in the Trans-Himalaya

'The Sacred Lotus of India' (NELUMBO  NUCIFERA) growing in a Kashmir Lake

Village of irrigated field in the Upper Indus Valley, Ladakh

WALDHEIMIA, SAUSSUREA, RHODIOLA and PRIMULA on a high pass in Ladakh

SWERTIA  PETIOLATA

A Gompa (Tibetan Monastery) in Ladakh

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