Pitamah of eFloraofIn​dia- Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Some of his accomplishments on eFloraofIndia:

Gurcharan Singh ji becomes the 1st to achieve 25,000 messages landmark.

Tentative total is as given below:

Around 1000 (with old mail id) + 22951 (Before Oct’20) + NA (Oct’20) + 475 (Nov.’20) +75 (Dec.’20) + 1278 (Jan.’21)= around 25,779.
It is a landmark achievement in view of his invaluable contributions in building efloraofindia.
He not only guided us from almost the beginning on how to go about building our efloraofindia, but also led us from the front for so many of its formative years.
That is why he was named as Pitamah of efloraofindia.

Salute, Singh ji, for your memorable contributions and guidance.

Great achievement, Sir

Congratulations 💚💐💐

Kudos to your efforts.

Hearty congratulations, Gurcharan ji !!!
Crossing 25000 messages is a huge milestone in eFI.

Wishing you best wishes for your journey within eFI, and also in the flora community at large.

Hearty Congratulations Gurcharan Ji, Great achievement..

It is high time for the promotion of Gurcharan sir from Pitamah to “Param Pitamah”. May be, in the next 50 years someone can break his record without thank you mails, but no one can match his contribution to eflora.

Its indeed a super great achievement and a super great learning for all of us.

You are the great Gurcharan Sir, Love for your dedication to plant taxonomy & proud of you Pitamaha .. Salute!!

Great contribution by Gurcharan sir. Hats off!

Thanks friends for your encouraging words. All this would not have been possible without great dedication and commitment by …, who led us from the front and took bold decision of migrating to a new website in spite of several hurdles. I suggest we have a special page for … with appropriate title and writeup which … and … can think of framing, with whatever support needed from us all. This was my long cherished, and hope it gets fulfilled sooner.

A great contribution for a great cause, very inspiring

Hearty congratulations “Pitamah”,

Hearty congratulations Gurcharan Sir Ji.

A great milestone indeed.
My best wishes,

Congratulations Gurcharan ji on crossing yet another huge milestone! Hats off to you!!

Congratulations for your services to the group Sir.

I always wondered at the energy with which he shaped efi since he joined efi in Nov.’2009. It was when indiantreepix (now efi) was in its nascent stage. I know he will even fight for the right cause & force the issue on matters of importance like mentioning author citation etc. From his guidance, efi has evolved as an institution on national importance, which is also involved in documentation of Indian Flora in the form of efi website.
He is the first member to cross 8000 posts (almost 10% of total messages) on efi. His details can be seen at
On this teachers day, we privately deliberated about him. Lot of epithets came to our mind for him like Pitamaha, Sarathi, Guide, Guru, Mahaguru, Living/Walking Encyclopedia of Indian Plants etc. However, we decided let something automatically stick to him on efi rather than we imposing ourselves.

My salute to him on being a fatherly figure & a great guide & teacher on efi.

Great!!!!! Sirji, so you are a path leader for teacher like me to follow. I am really proud to be member of eflora becuse that’s why I could know you and many others who are dedicated to the cause.
My salute and thanks for moulding me too!

… my salutes and respects  to Gurcharan ji !!!

we  came to know many unknown flowers bcoz of you and we will continue doing so
Garg rightly described you Encyclopedia of plants, Guru and Father figure on the site … i will to say ..he is ‘Back bone of Eflora’
i appreciate his dedication to site
few days back also i mentioned.. site is rich bcoz of experts like him
lot more post are still to come from him

I am taking a chance to wish him happiness and health

I have equated him to Maharshi of Taxonomy.

My salutes and sincere respects to him

I salute your dedication to eflora. I am proud to have been your colleague, though a very junior
one in terms of knowledge.

If we convert every post into meters, you have almost reached the Mt. Everest! Its remarkable…
Wishing you to reach many more such heights in the future too.

I know this is only a small part of your treasure, hope to find so many posts in the days to come.
You are real Guru for all of us, I am very lucky to be blessed with your company.
Congrats and best of luck for the future.

During my short period as a member of EFI, Gurcharan ji has already provided valuable lessons in his posts… (and sometimes in his silence too), I am indebted to him for being patient and kind to laymen like me who can be quite exasperating at times…. Thank you Gurcharan ji for being the teacher and the person you

… a thought came in mind,
Can we call him the Vice Chancellor of our e gurukul?

We are very lucky to have Company of Dr Gurcharan Singh Ji on two plant exploration trips Morni and Chakrata. We learnt a lot from him on these two tours. He has a great knowledge of plants. we salute him for his guidance and many valuable suggestions.

thanks Sir being with us and in future also surely we will have your company on different plant exploration tours.

Many many congratulations and hope to get more and more information from you in many many years to come ahead….

I am proud we have such a great member and moderator of the group.

I think you eyes are so meticulous and magnified to distinguish many taxonomic puzzles which is one of the best learning for me as a new member of this group.

We are lucky to be associated with you via this venture of eflora.


My 10000th mail in eFl, thanks all for making it so (2011):

I just noticed I have posted 9999 mails since joining this group, 802 from August to November as singhg@sify.com and 9197 since November, 2009 as singhg45@gmailcom. I thought of posting this information in separate 10000th mail.
It has been a nice interesting journey, made possible through excellent atmosphere in this group and dedication of experts who never stop till identification is confirmed, all our feeders who continue to upload photographs from different parts of India and abroad.

Thanks to all for making this happen

This is inspiring! Great achievement

You are the first member to do so & that too in a short period only.

Congrats. You are certainly the ‘Pitamaha’ & the ‘Maha Guru’ of efi.

Wow….  Hats off to you… Thats really shows great effort, selflessness and sincerity….
Best wishes for further additions.

The number of posts from others also increased significantly after your participation.
This is equally important for the group.

Congratulations Dr.Gurcharan Singh ji. Wow! what a journey.

Congrats … Sir Ji. This is surely a great milestone. more to see in coming year

Many many Congrats to you Sir for this great Achievement. This really inspiring for Us

That’s really great sir because knowing you as much as I can through your communications… most of them are gems of knowledge.. which serve us as references …..

Congratulations. Great achievement by Pitamaha of plant taxonomy by spreading the knowledge on plants to the unknown people like me.

Wow…10000 mails…thats really great!!! Congrats Gurcharan ji.


Dr. Gurcharan Singh has posted messages- 2998 since April ’12 (google fails to compile a figure of more than 3000).
Failure of google says more about greatness of our Dr. Gurcharan Singh.
He completed 10,000 messages in Oct.’12 & became the first member to do so.
Still he remains the leading poster on the group with around 15,000 messages so far.
His dedication to the group has been exceptional. He has not only posting interesting & detailed uploads with useful information
but he is also one who has identified/ confirmed the maximum number of plants posted by the members.
It’s not only the quantity but the quality also comes from him.
He is the person who not only started the concept of Family weeks, but also carried it forward in a great way
along with coming out with many options for recognising the contribution of our members.
He is truely The Pitamaha of efi with greatest contributions so far to the group.
His more details can be seen at Moderators & The Pillars

He is truely the Efi Man of the year 2012.

Well said … Gurcharan Singh ji’s contribution is really extra ordinary.

In full agreement with you …

The concept of Family Weeks is a thorough booster of adding species to database.

It is an assured solution of getting members to share species from their collection to the database – a win-win solution for both members as well as the Group.
It helps members like me who face crunch of time towards contributing to the group.

Thanks … for compiling….truly Gurcharan Sir deserves special applause…he has always been a leader and able expert…he critically examines every mail and ensures that every post justifies the recent taxonomical criteria…really great job…wishing him all the best for 2013 and this is clear no one can surpass him…

Simply…………. East or west Gurcharan Sir is Best

I fully agree with you that he is the driving force of eFI.

I fully agree with …… all, not only this announcement , all.

It is lovely to know the mind behind the family weeks! My colleague and I are both students of botany and we give a portion of everyday to study a family and map out all the ways we can identify that family in the field. For this we find that just the write ups on each family in the eflora site is plenty! The ease with which we can study from there makes it better than any textbook we can lay our hands on.

Feel privileged and proud to be part of the eflora community led by your able guidance.

I really appreciate the fine comments by Dr. G. Singh on all aspects including Plant Taxonomy. Also take this opportunity to thank him for writing “Plant Systematics Theory and Practice” the best book on this subject in India.

Thanks a lot … for these encouraging words.

I hope you have also seen the International Edition. It describes more than 120 families (no type studies), 450 colour plates and more than 700 colour photographs on CD ROM. Rest of the chapters are same but on a better paper.


It’s no coincidence that Singh ji has become the first member to complete 20,000 messages (802 from sin…@sify.com & 19259 from his current mail Id) as he always set such milestones for others to follow.
That really shows his great efforts, selflessness and sincerity….

Most of his communications are gems of knowledge.. which serve us as references …..
That’s why he has been truly named as the ‘Pitamaha’ & the ‘Maha Guru’ of efi.

Great …, you are indeed our Maha Guru.

Congratulations Singh ji, it shows your devotion, dedication and enthusiasm.

Its a real milestone with substance.

wow that’s really a lot…. Congratulations Gurcharan sir…. and I am sure you will soon reach 50,000 messages….. Surely learning a lot from you !!

Wooow thats great Gurcharan Sir,  Congrats & Keep educating us

we are learning from you and will continue

It is really great!

Singh Sir has all the time to see each and every upload and add some additional information on it. He is a great teacher for eFI forum. I believe each and every member is benefited by his comments.

Congratulations to him, and thanks too, for disseminating his deep knowledge to all of us.

Great achievement !!

Congrats Gurcharan Sir, our senior most teacher on efI.. we are very lucky to interact with you regularly, you have been very kind and affectionate to every one, always deeply involved in disseminating proper information through the forum..

Wish for your good health and many such milestones…

Thanks all my friends for touching words, a great encouragement and fuel for going forward and learning more and more about our plants through your beautiful photographs. I am lucky to have such a loving friends on the group.


Some of his valuable thoughts over the years in efloraofindia:

Let me first put on record the great service rendered by Mr J. M. Garg and the contributers of Indiantreepix. Mr Garg is the driving force for this great initiative which is helping hundreds of nature lovers and botanists. Having said that I largely agree with Mr Vijasankar for a need to have a single complilation of the Indian Flora. We may have few volumes of Flora of India, many regional floras (which only means duplication of effort, and often conflicting interpretation), but these pertain to diiferent time periods, can’t provide updated information. More so these are not easily available to general user, and only those associated with large institions have access to these.
The approach to dissemination of botanical knowledge, and with the availability of cameras which can shoot real time pictures, the utilisation of colour photographs has greatly eased the process of identification, a fact vividly shown by interactions in our group. Many recent books on plant systematics now use photographs are plants and plant parts in place of line drawings. These can be easily related to the live plants. I think the begining can be made to attempt an eflora for our country. There are several experts in this group (and outside the group who may be interested) who are quite competent to compile information on the pattern of efloras of China, Pakistan, Missouri, etc. Each expert can choose a few families which he/she thinks can handle best, and has good literature about. Once this has been done, other members can send all relevant information available to them. This group is lucky to have such a large database of photographs of flowering plants. With links to these photographs Indian eflora should become much more valuable than existing efloras. Views of other members may help in reaching a concrete result. (15.8.09)


Consider these names in our databases
Indigofera astragalina                        Syn: I. hirsuta      
Phyllanthus amarus                          Syn: P. nirurii
Ficus microcarpa                              Syn: F. retusa
Crateva adansonii                              syn: C.. religiosa
Acalypha lanceolata                          Syn: A. indica
Zizyphus mauritiana                          Syn: Z. jububa
The Plant names without author names are sometimes used in general purpose books and text books, not in taxonomic treatments or databases. Whenever these are used without author names, it is understood that there is only one species by that name, or the validly published one. If we apply this logic our names would be wriiten as under:
Indigofera astragalina DC., 1825          Syn: I. hirsuta Linn., 1753
Phyllanthus amarus Schumach., 1827    Syn: P. nirurii Linn., 1753
Ficus microcarpa Linn.f., 1781                Syn: F. retusa Linn., 1753
Crateva adansonii DC., 1824               syn: C. religiosa G. Forst., 1786
Acalypha lanceolata Willd, 1768         Syn: A. indica Linn., 1753
Zizyphus mauitiana Lamk., 1789        Syn: Z. jujuba Mill, 1789.
In all these cases the synonym is of earlier date, and should be used as correct name and not as synonym. We are using them as synonyms because they were named as accepted names in Hooker’s Flora of British India, and other Indian Floras, but the indian material was  subsequently found to be different species. The citations would be meaningful if properly cited as under:
Indigofera astragalina DC., 1825          Syn: I. hirsuta Baker (non Linn.,  1753)
Phyllanthus amarus Schumach., 1827    Syn: P. nirurii Hook.f. (non Linn., 1753)     (however, I don’t find any standard publication following this nomenclature. The most usually followed is this one:
Phyllanthus fraternus Webster, 1955        Syn: P. niruri Hook.f. (non Linn.)
Ficus microcarpa Linn.f., 1781                Syn: F. retusa auct. (non Linn., 1753)
Crateva adansonii DC., 1824               syn: C. religiosa Auct (non G. Forst., 1786)
Acalypha lanceolata Willd, 1768         Syn: A. indica Linn., 1753   (I don’t know of any publication which cites A. indica as synonym of A. lanceolata. In case they are synonyms, A. indica should be accepted name, unless it is another case of misidentification with A. indica)
Zizyphus mauitiana Lamk., 1789        Syn: Z. jujuba Lamk. (non Mill, 1768)
Our databases are slowly expanding and should soon becaome most frequently visited by plant lovers and botanists , and I feel the need for proper represntation of data  .and this can happen only if names of species and authors are properly represented. 
It may take some time to correct older records, but atleast from now onwards we can decide to include names and synonyms with proper author citation, to make our databases useful to botanists in general and researchers in particular. (5.9.14)

All of us are bound by one thing: Love for photography, love for nature and curiosity to know what plant I have clicked. In that no one is botanist or nonbotanist. All of us also want our plant to be identified correctly, and it is here that botanical names come in handy, and they are more meaningful when author name is attached.

No garden lover would have miised the common garden flower cornflower. We all also know that it is botanically Centaurea cyanus, but incidently it is also known as bachelor’s button, blue bottle, ragged robin. If you search for blue bottle on the internet, you will reach Centaurea cyanus, Muscari neglectum, species of Gentiana or even an insect Calliphora vomitoria. Safeda for us in Delhi and elsewhere is Eucalyptus spp. but if ask any one from Kashmir for a twig of Safeda, he/she will give you Populus spp. All these problems are not there when using botanical name. Each species will have only one accepted scientific name, known all over the world. You can extract all common names for this plant, not vice versa as indicated above.
And now the names with authors. I will just give you just yesterday’s example.Swagat ji (17625) uploaded a photograph which I identified as Atropa acuminata Royle., appropriately known as Indian belladona, a very important medicinal plant common in Himalayas. If you look for its description in Older Indian books you will find it identified as A. belladona Linn., the European bellodona L. which looks totally different (see it on Flowers of India-often cultivated in gardens). So won’t you like to know whether your plant is belladona (deadly-nightshade) or Indian belladona. Botanically it can be written (as per present practice in Indiantreepix and Flowers of India):
Atropa acuminata                              Syn: A. belladona
What is your opinion  is it correct?
or else this one is better:
Atropa acuminata Royle                    Sy: A. belladona Clarke (non L.)
Make your choice, shortcut and confusion or clarity.

Not to forget,many experts here in the group burn midnight oil to see that your plants are correctly identified. A plant sent by me at 1.30 in night  was identified by Pankaj ji at 2.15 at night. We can all see the efforts and contributions of Kenneth to see that our plants are correctly identified. All have love for plants and passion for photography. (5.9.09)

Let me first show my appreciation to know that there is some one elder than me in this group. We are separated by four years. I greatly appreciate the great work you are doing. I still remember as child picking up Guchhi (Morchella), Kan dole (Halvella) as two most delicious wild plants (now guchhi with overexploitation, is costlier than gold), which I could remember from chilhood (no botany knowledge) and could identify specimens botanically when in M. Sc.In that sense there is no botanist and non-botanist. My mother could identify young plants of Saag, sarson, belonging to Brassica, whereas many botanists can’t do it from even flowering specimens.
  Yours, mine, my mother and similar cases are isolated ones. We want the progress of whole India, for that information spread is essential, and more important correct one at that, so that we don’t spend crores of rupees on importing products from outside.India and Africa are richest areas are floristic diversity, butamong  poorest in the
World, because is paucity of information, and proper exploitation. Let us not just be happy with our heritage. In this world of competition, we have to learn more to compete and progress.
   I remember once visiting Nainital. On way we stayed in a village. The whole village was out of their homes for 8-10 hours because a holy person had come to give herbal cure for their eyes. When they came back I asked for the plant my host got from the saint. I went out and showed him plants growing in front of his house. It was Eclipta alba, (Bringaaraja in Sanskrit; Bhangra, mochkand in Hindi). There are thousands of such instances in our country. There is need to educate our people, and that is possible, if we know them correctly our self.

That has been my objective throughout (6.9.09)


I strongly feel that the vast information lying in hard covers of BSI/ZSI journals, publications, Fascicles of Flora of India, Flora of India volumes, has to come out on the internet so that we may not fend for information and identification, the Efloras of Pakistan, China, North America, etc. There is need for compilation of this information, and I feel there are numerous experts even outside BSI and ZSI who can collaborate. Our Eflora could be much more meaningful with links to authentic identified photographs of plants from India. We have huge databases of photographs on Indiantreepix, Flowers of India and several similar privately managed sites, which can be requested to collaborate and share their data.
For ongoing research on Indian plants it is imperative have have our herbarium specimens (at least representative ones) and type specimens are scanned/photographed and uploaded as virtual herbarium  in lines of Fairchild virtual herbarium, Kew virtual herbarium, Australian Virtual herbarium and Virtual herbarium of New York Botanical Garden.
We have to open up if Indian research has to progress (Sept. 2009)

You have initiated a very valuable topic for the sake of our group and the National Flora. While there is need for nomenclatural and identity uniformity at India level and regional level, unfortunately very little has recently been done at national level, some very good regional publications have come up for us to bank upon, discuss and arrive at a meaningful conclusion. Science today is dynamic process, and it does not take a minute for new information to reach www, for all of us to benefit from. It needs a lot of time for a national compilation to come up.

But then there is a catch. There is also lot of wrong information flying around on the internet, but with so many able minded and sincere people around, we can (and have been) sieve the right information. (Sept. 2009)

The main topic of discussion here is whether the huge wealth of research information lying in libraries of major Universities, BSI/ZSI is available to the average plant lover are not. Agreed serious researchers need libraries to work, but we are talking of taking knowledge to the general public and what is the best means of making information available to them. I have several volumes of Flora of Pakistan, a few of Flora of India, but please search through your libraries and let me know how many have all volumes of Flora of India published by BSI, how many have volumes Pakistan Flora, and more importantly Flora of China, which has so many plants common with our flora. Contrary to this I can sitting in Delhi, California or anywhere else have access to Efloras, and can identify my plants.
We are aiming to take information to the common man, and www is the best medium for that.
But as I wrote earlier, there is some misinformation on the internet, but there are then also meanins of sieving it. This group has proved that many a times.
There are many important researchers active in BSI/ZSI and different Universities. But the important question is have we all benefitted from that?. WWW is there to pupularise that. Today if I have to find any new research and development in Taxonomy I browse APWeb and always find something new. (Sept. 2009)


Me and several botanists had a set procedure of work. If you find any unknown plant, sit with few floras, efloras if you have internet available, get hold of dissecting microscope, needle, brush, blade and a few more things and get busy till you identify the plant. If unsuccessful, photograph it and send to any group or individual who you think can identify this.

Two days back I found a plant growing in Herbal garden, labelled as ban tulsi and identified as Ocimum basilicum. This angered me a lot, since it was no where near Ocimum. I sat down with all books I had, tried to study it, but after spending 6-8 hours could not identify this plant. Finally, today I sent it to the group, and after 10 minutes I knew this was Hyptis svaveolens, thanks Dinesh Valke.
This made me to  rethink and decide. Next time you get a new plant, simply photograph it and send to the group, if you don’t get help, only then waste your time with microscopes and books.

This is how Indiantreepix and internet has changed the attitudes. Thanks Garg ji, Tabish ji and Dinesh ji. (22.11.09)


What had initially started as a site to share photographs and get identity of unknown plants, I find in recent months, it is taking shape as Forum where new inputs from members are leading to the re-interpretation of identity of many plants. Many of us very happy to identify their specimens from local floras, and most of the times once we identify the specimen from local flora, we don’t find need (and often there is no need, because that is the purpose of local floras: fewer names to sort from) to cross check the identifications. Interactions on this group have in recent months led to the correction of many local flora identifications and more importantly discovery of several new records in regional floras. There are often very involved discussions, not met in even usual research interactions at various research institutes. Some recent such discussions have been on Solanum indicum complex which threw in several new species of our areas, Ocimum longifolia complex, Alternathera species in India, Acmella species in India and more recently discussion on specimens of Physalis minima complex uploaded by me and Dinesh ji. Truly most of these discussions are initiated by Satishji and Dinesh ji, provided professional touch by Shrikant ji and Vijayasankar ji and interesting inputs by Garg ji and Tabish ji. The group has more recently become more resourceful with the introduction of Tanay (ji), Muthu ji, Satish Chile,  Balkar ji, Satish Pardesi ji and several other members contributing actively. With discussions continuing like this, our website may soon become a Forum/Centre for active Taxonomic Research, I keep on interacting in several other groups, but find none (even some International ones) reaching a fraction of interaction that we find on this group.  Congratulations to all members. Three cheers for efloraofindia Group, and three cheers for our pioneers Tabish ji and Garg ji.  (11.4.10)

The key to the success of this group, to my mind is the approach to write without hesitation what comes to your mind at the first sight of the plant photograph. If all of us wait for writing only when one is 100% sure about the identification, then perhaps 90 % of plants on this group would remain untouched. I have been stressing on this forum, and Dinesh ji and Satish ji (and now Tanay) give it a practical shape, make a guess, even if it is a wild guess. Once any member finds a name given for a plant which appears doubtful, it is a real impetus to go deeply, find more information, and come up with improved identification. This is the fuel for this group, and is the key to the high success rate of identifications on this group. Let us make sure that this tempo continues. Let us also make sure that we keep on interacting in cordial atmosphere, and find the interaction a joyful experience. (11.4.10)


Our group has the distinction of being largest egroup in India (and perhaps the whole World) devoted to the study of Indian plants with record 3066 mails during the last month. The Group since its inception in June 2007 has
made great strides and this would not have been possible without the dedication and graceful participation of veterans like Garg ji, Satish Phadke ji, Prashant ji, Tabish ji and Devendra ji. The group has attained status and great expertise with the active participation of Vijayasankar ji, Srikant ji, Muthu ji, Rashida ji, Satish Chile ji, Balkar ji, Nayan ji, Satish Pardeshi ji, Rani ji, Dimple ji, Anil ji and several other experts on the group. The real strength of the group are plant lovers Neil ji, Yazdy ji, Anand ji, Madhuri ji and Aarti ji who keep on providing important inputs because of their love for plants. The group has got real impetus with the introduction of Tanay who has taken group to new heights.  It gives great pleasure and satisfaction when we find nearly 80-90 per cent of the IDs getting resolved within half an hour. Frankly the job of resurfacing is getting easier and easier.    There was a time when it would take months to get an unknown plant identified. I remember when I wrote my first book in 1999, I proudly announced in the book the episode of having resolved the identification of an unknown plant in the eGroup TAXACOM within one hour. I in fact also published the whole thread in the book. In 2010 the situation has reached that in our group the identifications are now achieved sometimes within five minutes of first posting. All members deserve full credit for this.    Our group also has the distinction of being the most refined group (I am member of several other groups and really know the difference) on the net where observations, comments and identifications are provided without any show of authority. I request members, especially the new ones, to kindly keep this in mind while commenting on photographs uploaded by other members. If members find any photograph not up to the mark or feel that some additional photographs are needed you can request (not ask or tell) the member to upload some more photographs. We enjoy interactions on the group when communications are made in cordially. There are so many experts on the group, and let us not give the least indication that we know more than others. We can simply give our opinion, and let the thread progress.   Since the group has progressed a lot I would like to repeat what I have written many times earlier also. When our group started (for that matter even Flowers of India) it mostly consisted of photography and nature enthusiasts who would be attracted by only flowers. This can be easily seen in earlier postings. With professional touch to the group, and goal of developing eFlora of India it is essential that we have complete photo representation of each species. I would request members to upload a good number of photographs showing a twig with flowers/fruits, clear view of insertion and type of leaf, side view of flower (so that bracts, bracteoles, calyx are clearly visible), top view of the flower and fruits and seeds if possible.   This would help in developing a good database and also helping in the process of identification (5.6.10)


Some days back I had written to Tabish ji about status of our databases and journey towards the preparation of eFlora of India. We seem to have reached collecting some data concerning roughly 20 per cent of Indian Flora. A rich eFlora should have a few photographs of each species (the major strength of our eFlora project), descriptions of species (already a part of Flowers of India, but some elaboration needed), Correct nomenclature status (partially achieved, authorities and references need be entered). Our databases also have added strength of having local names of plants in different languages. To my mind two major activities need to be undertaken:

1.     1.   Preparation of list of species under each genus reported in India (wild as well as cultivated) so that members can focus on the remaining species and upload their photographs to ensure complete representation of each genus.

2.     2.  To prepare easy identification keys for the species reported from India, to help members and surfers easy identification of species

The situation with regard to present documentation of Indian Flora is that we still have to depend on regional Floras, and older these get, less reliable they become. There is no better example than the genus Solanum, which has been focus of our attention periodically and recently enthusiastic efforts of Yazdy ji (who says that only trained taxonomists, with sound knowledge of technical details only can contribute to our floristic knowledge?, we have to learn a lot from persons like him; Garg ji, Dinesh ji, Tabish ji and several other veterans have already proved that) and Raghu ji uploading many photographs. I begin with this genus building up taxonomic status of species, and request other members to suggest improvements so that we know species representation in our subcontinent. You may please look up in recent revisions, local floras and suggest species that needs to be added. I have tentatively grouped them for easy reference and identification. (13.6.10)

That is not your case only, even for me who was supposed to be an expert taxonomist way back in 1970-75 in Kashmir. When I joined Delhi University in 1975, I got so busy in teaching that my involvement with plants in nature remained limited to local trips for students, and annual trips to places in India.
Two things changed my life style: a digital camera presented by my son, and my joining indiantreepix (thanks to Dr. Janamurty who introduced me to this group (from TAXACOM, where I used to send my photographs)). It has changed my life style. I am on lookout for visiting more and more places. While in California, I have photographed plants in thousands (but upload only those which are relevant to our Flora), and would plan my next visit in a different months to catch new plants.
My primary interest still remains Himalayan Flora, and I would be visiting different areas in different months to have the maximum catch. I am planning Kashmir visit this time in July-August (peak season for high altitude Flora), last time it was June.

I have often been thinking, if I had not joined this group, how would have I spent my retirement days?. Now planning for future trips, clicking new photographs, processing these, identifying these and interacting on the group, keeps me much more busy than my days of active service. Luckily I have another hobby of making videos from stills or clips from digicam. Many of these are on the facebook for those interested. (28.1.11)


Yesterday was the Annual Flower Show of Delhi University, but with a great difference. The number of visitors was exceptionally large. In the previous years it was usual to find most visitors visiting the stalls, having a casual look at plants and purchase some good plants, seeds or bulbs. This year it was a rare sight to find visitors crowded around the potted plants with their cameras clicking. Agreed most of these cameras were mobile cameras. Perhaps some skeptical members may think that mobile cameras are no good for class photography, but not so any longer. Most recent mobile phone cameras are equipped with high end lenses which can give you results comparable to some SLR cameras. What was more interesting that, most of them were not just interested to click  good photographs, many were interested to know and recording names of plants. I found several such visitors keen to know the names of plants, where labels were not available (and majority of plants were without labels). I found several such persons asking their friends or persons around to tell them the names of these plants. And to some whom I gave the names were extremely happy to know (and it actually showed on their faces).

With this positive, pleasant change, I find no strange that more and more such persons who have good photographs to identify may like to join such groups as ours. This should not only increase the popularity of our group, but it should also help in enriching our database. The need is for letting more and more people know about our group. (26.2.11)


Why I love Efloraofindia?

I have asked myself many a times why do I feel so involved with efloraofindia group and love interacting it? I found the following answers:

1.      I love the group because it has given me a good reason to keep busy after retirement (I felt involved even before formal retirement), so that I don’t have to think about how should I spend my time.

I     I love the group because it has given me a reason to restudy, catalogue, digitise my herbarium collection of more than 10,000 specimens, which were lying unattended due to my busy teaching schedule. I would be uploading these as a virtual herbarium.

2.      I love this group because it has now given me a zeal and plan to visit as many places as possible. More important, visiting these places in different months so that I am able to find, photograph and have new plants to report in the group. Adding these to my publications would be a bonus for me.

3.      I love this group because of our prominent members Garg ji (who in spite of being the owner of the group, has never given the impression of authority), Dinesh ji (the architect of its great advancement), Satish Phadke ji (the great strength of the group), Vijayasankar ji, Shrikant ji, Nayan ji, Nidhan ji, Balkar ji, Prashant ji, Tabish ji, Pravin ji, Devendra ji and Promila ji (the great experts, who don’t allow any plant to go unidentified, and at the same time are great examples of high morality and great humility, the examples to be followed by our youngsters.   

4.      I love this group for plant lovers Neil ji, Yazdy ji, who own huge collection of plants in their estates and never hesitate to share these. I salute Neil ji for his great knowledge of plants.

5.      I love the group for members like Nalini ji, Madhuri ji, Padmini ji, Aarti ji, Rashida ji, Pankaj Oudyia ji, Anand ji, our story telling group, who never miss an occasion to add spice to the information, and never allow the discussion to lose its interest. Mani ji and Antaryamy have added flavor to these interactions by their frequent Hindi couplets.  

6.      I love the group for its young experts Pankaj ji, Mahadeswara ji, Giby ji, Rajdeo ji, Muthu ji, Smita ji, Ritesh ji, Mayur ji, Manudev ji, Raghu ji, Shantanu ji for their great expertise, love for plants and never hesitating to share their point of view, although maintaining the high standards of communication. They are the future of the group. Snehal ji, I am happy, is learning it fast. Others who interact less frequently, and I am able to recollect their names may please excuse me.

7.      I love Tanay (the only person I don’t attach ji) the most, because this young fellow who has such a great knowledge of plants from every part of India/World at this young age has attained the high level of maturity after joining this group.

8.      Our new active members Alok ji, Puttaraju ji and others are enriching our database and gradually adjusting to the group norms.

M  My request to some young members is not to get tempted to depict the show of authority and knowledge. The members are intelligent enough to understand the capability of each member. These young members have a great future, and I wish that learning from the experience of interacting in the group would bring great success in life. (20.3.11)

You prompted me to write the most important reason why I love this group, here it is:

9. The most important thing why I love this group is that “in spite of some occasional sharp exchanges,  members on this group love each other so much that no one is allowed to leave the group easily. There were occasions when some important members like Dinesh ji, Tanay or Rahida ji wanted to leave the group for some unpleasant episode, but all of really saw that they don’t leave. Similarly Pankaj ji left the group temporarily because I wrote some thing to Tanay about the norms the group. Tanay became my best friend (or my favourite) from that day, but Pankaj ji left the group, to rejoin after some time on requests from the members. I was the one who suggested his return to the moderator group again. That is the beauty and strength of the group”. (24.3.11)


It is heartening to note that our forum and the websites of Flowers of India and efloraofindia are becoming more popular day by day due to new experts joining it and increasing its value and our dedicated team making every effort to reach out to teachers and students of botany and public in general. In my chapter “eFlora: the future of floristic documentation” in an edited book “Plant Taxonomy Past, Present and Future”, 2012, I had devoted 4 full pages (included here as attachment) to efloraofindia, Flowers of India as well personal contributions by …. … is playing a great role in making it popular by representing the group at a recent conference, and again along with … holding a photographic exhibition at Panipat on 16th March, where efloraofindia was a big focus.

Thankfully after coming back to India I had a chance to deliver lectures at a few colleges on the “Role of Digital photography, computers and internet” where I have made special efforts to attract students and teachers to join and contribute. I am happy to note that students have been very receptive of this new approach. Through online power-point presentation I showed them the websites and personal pages to make them more popular.

I request other members also to devise methods to increase awareness about our groups to different communities of people. (23.3.13)


Some other related links on him: