Saussurea glanduligera Sch.Bip. ex Hook.f., 371 1881. (syn: Saussurea glanduligera var. glanduligera ; Saussurea glanduligera var. major Hook.f.);
Ladakh flora 15, up. id pl : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)
Location -on the way getting down from Kongmarula to Shang-sumdo
at the height of appro 4700 mtr. on 7th August 16.
id of the plant pl.
I think this Saussurea glanduligera– the location and altitude fit.
Stewart records it from Leh-Lamayuru, Taklung La, Tsakzhun Tso, below Gya, Lahul and Tibet @ 3900-5700m
Dickore & Klimes list this species from Ladakh.
‘Flora of Lahaul-Spiti’ have it as rare but that is probably not the case; don’t expect the authors spent too much time at the highest elevations in the region.
I repeat that Saussurea is not any easy genus with much confusion between certain species incl. S.gossypiphora. The authors of the above work claim, falsely, that S.gossypiphora grows on Rohtang Pass (which is not part of Lahoul, at least not the south-facing/wetter parts) whereas I have seen S.simpsoniana there; they do not mention this species.
May I draw the attention of those interested in this genus to ‘Taxonomic studies on Saussurea de Candolle… in the Hengduan Mountains,
China. In ‘An annotated list of recently collected specimens’ by Fujikawa, Boufford, Ohba, Sun & Wu published in the ‘Newsletter of Himalayan Botany’ No. 39 ( Feb 2007) – by The Society of Himalayan Botany, Tokyo.
The authors state that this is another highly diversified genus with more than 100 (of a total of c. 300) species occurring within the Hengduan region! Please note I do not consider the mountains of SW China to be part of the Himalaya proper. So we must be grateful that a mere 19 have been recorded from Ladakh to-date….. (though I am uncertain about the correct identification of 2 or 3 of them).
Studies culminated in Lipschitz’s monograph on the genus in 1979. Several Chinese botanists have also studied the genus. Despite this history of study, the species of Saussurea are still, because of the paucity of specimens from throughout the entire range of distribution, unsatisfactorily known in many respects, especially in their ecology and morphology. There have been few detailed comparative taxonomic studies and relatively little field work in the regions where the genus reaches its greatest diversity and complexity. The same applies to Saussurea in the Western Himalaya.
During field expeditions from 1996-2005, many new herbarium specimens and considerable material in silica gel for molecular studies were gathered. Ecological observations were carefully recorded and detailed notes made of each location. This information will be particularly valuable for further systematic analysis and for floristic studies for a part of the world that has until now been so poorly explored and remains so poorly known.
Future proper botanical exploration of Ladakh and all of NW Himalaya should aspire to and match such quality- only then can its flora begin to be known to International standards. The late Leos Klimes and colleagues have been undertaking ecological studies to a high standard in Ladakh in recent times – their excellent efforts should be acknowledged, at times reaching the very highest limits of flowering plant growth (undertaking in-depth studies at 5000m+ even to 5850m) and not with the benefit of a vehicle which allows others to reach Khardung La and similar high passes thanks to ‘road’ construction by the Indian Army). Few botanists have ever ventured up to such places (including myself). Operating methodically at such altitudes is demanding, to say the least. I know one European ecologist who surveyed at 6000m or so coping with being literally being sick every morning when at such heights. We all should admire such dedication!
The article covers several Saussurea species recorded in Ladakh- there are B&W photos of herbarium sheets.