Hatoo (Narkanda, Shimla, H.P.) AT OCT2016/12 : 13 posts by 6 authors. Attachments (4)
Hatoo is a place frequently mentioned in Collett’s ‘FLORA SIMLENSIS’.
It is about 75km away from Shimla (H.P.) on Rampur road and rich in
plant biodiversity.
It was a nice experience to visit Hatoo alongwith Dr. Nidhan Singh and
his students. Although we were quite late as most of the plants had
died, still we got some in our collection.

It is nice to see two of our versatile members.

Looks a nice place botanized by eFI members!

Thank you very much Anil Ji for a nice and memorable company, for sparing one full day with me and team, above all for sharing these nice pics..
Thanks … for your words, yes the place is worth visiting especially in flowering season from April to late monsoons…

Another place worth visiting (have any of this group’s members botanized there, I wonder) mentioned by Collet is ‘The Chor’ located at 30 52′ and 77 32′ to the South-East of Shimla rises to some 3600m.  I did see a book about a survey of this area in a book-shop at Shimla some years back but this was beyond my tight budget.  As Collet says this and Hatugarh (Hatu) are the only elevations in the district on which there is subalpine vegetation.
I noted over-grazing on Hatu so some of the plants mentioned as growing there in Collet’s time are probably no longer present – just as Lilium polyphyllum which is the Frontispiece in ‘Flora Simlensis’ was once common in Shimla woods but is surely rare or its colonies have been trampled, over-grazed, plucked or its habitat destroyed by construction.
And one should not forget Shali ‘Peak’ which has records for species not recorded elsewhere in the district.

Yes, …  There are many problems like over grazing, excessive human interference and  development. I have never come across Lilium polyphyllum till date. A conservation  project on this plant was awarded to NBPG, but they have to return the money as they were unable
to collect the plant from this area. Shali is another area rich in plant diversity. That is approximately 50km away from this place.

I first came across Lilium polyphyllum in Kashmir.  My small team in 1983 camped on a small island in the Lidder river on the way to Aru from Pahlgam – this lily grew here.  The crossing to the island consisted of a tree trunk.  Sadly, just 2 years later a wooden bridge had been made to allow vehicles across – no sign of the lily!
Members of a botanical tour found a good colony of this lily in forest above Manali and told me of it – I was able to locate this. Unfortunately, the colony may have expired.  There is a great deal of house building and planting of both apple orchards and other crops – there were some such fields before. Presumably this is the explanation. Cardiocrinum giganteum was still visible.
Stewart knew it from N.Pakistan and Kashmir @ 2100-3000m.  Even then (some 50 years back) he observed that possibly due to picking
this lily is nowhere abundant.
You mention NBPG – is this The National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources?

You are absolutely right. NBPGR is National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources.
Population of India has nearly doubled during the last 50 years. Manali, Shimla and all other small towns in the hills have expanded to forest areas. Vegetation has been cleared for construction as well as for fodder. This has lead to the disappearance of many rare and useful plants. Many of the plants mentioned in Sir Collett’s Flora Simlensis are not present today in their reported localities.
I am not able to locate the place ‘The Chor’ mentioned by you.

The planting of Apple orchards has affected the mountain ecosystems badly. The native vegetation has been cleared in favour of cash crops. Apples have replaced Chilgosa pine and other native vegetation in Kinnaur. The recent flash floods in that area are attributed to ecological degradation.

‘The Chor’ is the famous ‘Churdhar’ that Sir Collect approached from Chopal (Sarahan) side.
… is correct. Species like Lilium polyphyllum and Habenaria sussane that were recorded as common in Shimla hills by Sir Collect have almost vanished from the Shimla hills due to change in landuse and increasing biotic pressure on these forests. Even the highly protected Shimla Water Catchment forests that used to house many exacting species like Cyperipedium cordigerum over acres, have lost that sheen. Now one has to actually exert to locate one – probably the last remnant – specimen of these species here.