Primula boothii W. G. Craib, Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 6(29–30): 249–250 1917. as per Catalogue of Life;


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This Primula also shot in Munsyari area Uttarakhand resembles to Primula petiolaris Wallich with its irregularly toothed petals.
Validation (or otherwise) is requested.


Matching the book description: Pink with yellow eye with a thin white border, and with rounded irregularly toothed petals.


I am unsure about this.  Richards observes that few species have been so misunderstood as Primula petiolaris Wallich.
I see that it is no longer an accepted number in ‘The Plant List’.  So what has replaced it? Primula gracilipes perhaps?
It is still on the ‘Primula World’ site but the only images are of cultivated plants and some of these could easily be hybrids.
Cannot say the image shot in Uttarakhand matches the images on the above site.
According to Richards it is found in Nepal & Sikkim plus two early records from Kumaon. Flowers of Himalaya says Uttaranachal to Sikkim @ 2400-3600m.
Richards says throughout Nepal sometimes growing and hybridising with Primula gracilipes.
I am uncertain as to the differences between P.petiolaris and P.gracilipes.  They are closely related.  Richards considers the latter might well be considered a subspecies of the former!  Differing in the almost stemless (those in the photo do have stalks), tightly clasped blunter sepal-lobes (which cannot be observed in the image) and the total absence of meal – though sometimes meal is not prominent. 
Is there anyone who can comment with authority?  And tell us the correct nomenclature/taxonomic treatment?
Flowers of the Himalaya say that Primula gracilipes is the most frequent petiolarid Primula in Bhutan (and Sikkim).  They consider P.petiolaris much smaller and the two may be CONSPECIFIC i.e. being the same species!


Thanks a lot, …, for looking at all posts in this genera in efi.
Catalogue of life states Primula petiolaris Wall. to be an accepted name.
May I request … to pl. post other images.


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Attaching more images as desired.
This primula was shot above Munsyari (Pithoragarh District, Kumaon, Uttarakhand) at an elevation of about 2600-2700m. It was growing on a moist vertical mossy slope in second fortnight of March 2013. As I understand with increasing spring temperature the habitat was becoming drier. Some tetramerous flowers are also visible (marked in image-2). 

Attachments (4)


Thanks for sending additional images.  I will quote further from ‘Primula’ which states that few species have been so misunderstood
as Primula petiolaris.  As the earliest described species in the section it was used as a dustbin during the 19th century, most petiolarids being assigned to it.  As the section became better understood, most of these were split off but so few specimens of the type plant existed that they were misinterpreted.
Unfortunately, Wallich’s type specimen was collected in the summer with a few off-season flowers, so it has summer leaves with long petioles untypical of the usual flowering conditions (hence the name of this species, and indeed the section).  Further it was not realized that flowers of pink petiolarids dry blue. Many 19th Century pressed specimens had few, if any field notes – a situation which, regrettably has continued with too many Indian botanists gathering scrappy, often poor pressed specimens and almost no field notes (such as flower colour) to
make attempts to reliable identify more difficult to name primulas (and other genera) that much harder (to impossible).
Anyhow, according to Richards the plant photographed above Munsyari is not P.petiolaris.  It is a shame that the calyces photographed are not in focus.  They are supposed to be tightly clasps, blunter lobes.  There is a total absence of meal plus cup-shaped flowers, tight, crisped rosette at flowering with almost stem-less flowers.  It is also smaller.
The authors of Flora of Bhutan speak of differences between forms of P.petiolaris in Bhutan and those in Nepal.  It may well be forms in Uttarkhand are somewhat different as well, so their comments as to Bhutanese and Sikkimese specimens might not apply further West?
IF this plant is P.gracilipes then it has not been recorded from what was Kumaon previously.  As the differences have been so poorly understood, the old records are probably somewhat meaningless and few in number.
As Richards thinks P.gracilipes could be considered a subspecies of P.petiolaris, his opinion, should, for the present, rank the highest.  It would be helpful if someone could forward these images and accompanying information to him, for his thoughts.
In the mean time, how about calling these plants Primula petiolaris sensu lato or Primula petiolaris subspecies gracilipes?  Or Primula sp. aff. petiolaris?   This indicates the uncertainty.
If group members can send in more good-quality images of petiolarids (and all other primulas for that making) with close-up, in focus images of flowers (upper and lower surface of petals, sepals, stalks, upper and lower leaf surfaces) plus good field notes, then this will help us clarify the situation.
Without more images showing all the necessary characteristics of a number of other collections, it is impossible to add much to the uncertainty which seems to remain.
So, I hope group members are inspired to get up into the mountains to look for Primulas – in the case of the petiolarids, they are not found at extreme altitudes or terrain, so most members should be able to undertake the required treks/walks.
Look forward to lots of Primula images in 2017.

Many thanks for sending these images. They are of P. boothii, not P. petiolaris or P. gracilipes. Both the former species have much shorter flower stems. For P. boothii please note the following characters:
no farina
long slender usually reddish flower stems
calyx which is angled, due to each sepal being keeled (like a house roof)
often (not always) red colour in leaf veins etc
This is a forest species from Annapurna eastwards to west Bhutan. Most flower in April, but there is an autumn flowering subspecies ssp. autumnalis, also a stoloniferous ssp. repens.

It is so helpful to receive input from those with the maximum knowledge/familiarity with a genus, especially
for examples we have been uncertain about.
Naturally, it is of special interest to members of this group, when a species, subspecies or variety has their range extended into Indian territory or recognised only in Indian territory.
As far as I know, Richards ‘determination’ (not sure if he would count it as such) for this plant from Munsyari means this represents the first record of Primula boothii in Uttarakhand, as is the case for Primula gracilipes from Gori Valley.


Thanks a lot, …
It is all because you requested that we take his opinion in this matter. 


It is indeed an addition to the Primula species in Uttarakhand as it is not mentioned in the checklist of Uniyal et al. 2007 [Flowering Plants of Uttarakhand (A Checklist)].
And it clearly represents the case of wrong identification in the past.
It all now will result in to one another visit to the location for collecting specimens in the next spring.
Thank you Chadwell Ji, Prof. Richards and Garg Ji to reaching to the conclusive ID.

Thanks for confirmation that this represents a new record for Uttarakhand and acknowledgement of my input. I have few references for this region.
Yes, voucher pressed specimens are required, ideally gathered in triplicate.  One for whichever Institution the botanist who
undertakes the collection is from, a second for one of the national herbaria in India and one to be sent to professor Richards for
further verification (which he would subsequently deposit in one of the UK’s national herbaria) – on the assumption the population
size is sufficient to allow this without damaging it.
May I request that several individual specimens (2 or 3 would probably be sufficient in this case) are gathered for each ‘sample’ i.e. sufficient to fill a typical herbarium sheet, rather than just a single specimen, as is often the case these days illustrating any obvious variant within the colony.  Relying too heavily on single specimens especially if they are atypical can create problems/confusion amongst taxonomists, as you know.
I am sure you will ensure a good set of digital close-ups of foliage (both upper and lower surface), petals (front and back), calyces,
flower stalks etc. as well as habit and habitat shots are taken to accompany the pressed specimens plus exhaustive field notes.  I mention this not suggesting you do not know this already but to explain what is involved to members less familiar with such matters.   Such images and information represent supporting evidence and will enable others to inspect similar habitat and when companion species are noted, to make a special effort to look out for this Primula incl. when it is not in flower (a time when plants can be overlooked especially if foliage dies-down. 
This just goes to show the potential this google group has to contribute to knowledge of flora in the Indian Himalaya and India as a
whole.
Let us hope this species can be found in other locations in Uttarakhand in the years to come (certainly not in higher or drier habitats) – it is very unlikely to occur in Himachal Pradesh and even more so in Kashmir but once those who explore and photograph them know what to look out for (get their eye in), in promising habitats at suitable altitudes, more records are likely.  Just because this represents the first record it does not imply there are not others or it is that the species is rare in Uttarakhand.  It might be but nobody can say at this stage.  I recollect a petiolarid under waterfalls during my first visit to Nepal in 1990 which I only subsequently realised was Primula boothii subspecies autumnalis.
This should be only the first (and second bearing in mind the other Primula that Professor Richards has identified) of many more species, subspecies and varieties belonging to lots of different genera, this group helps to locate.
High quality digital photography, good field botany locating less familiar plants and then suitable botanical input from assorted members with quality pressed voucher specimens gathered by expert field botanists to be collected on behalf of regional institutions with duplicate specimen sent nationally and internationally will round things off.  No doubt with publication of the record at some point – though best not to rush things.
This all represents good international collaboration which benefits Indian botany.  Right from my first visit to India back in 1980, I have repeatedly said, TAKE ADVANTAGE of WILLINGNESS of FOREIGN BOTANISTS and PLANT ENTHUSIASTS to help with the study of Himalayan flora.   This is to the benefit of all concerned and shows how this google group can work well together, setting an example for others to follow.
I recently posted images of Primula boothii subspecies autumnalis taken by my eldest son in Nepal for comparative purposes.
Professor Richards has outlined the characteristics to look out for in P.boothii, to separate them from P.petiolaris and P.gracilipes.
I hope that I can remain in a position to assist this group and the group welcomes my inputs.  My comments, questions, challenges,
corrections and constructive  criticisms are well worth “putting up with” and my underlying good-intentions, recognised.
As the late outstanding horticulturist & conservationist, himself a fine field-botanist, Prem Nath Kohli, would say, “India will gain”.
IF what I am doing is fully embraced…..


Would you also confirm that the other Primula named by Professor Richards constitutes a new record for Uttarakhand?
I ensured he commented further as to the significance of the autumn flowering. This needs confirmation for the whole population
and if so he suggests warrants be recognised at varietal or subspecies level, thus IF subsequently confirmed would represent a
new taxon not just for Uttarakhand but the Himalaya and indeed genuinely “new-to-science”. 
IF my inputs are permitted to continue then one can expect, for a number of different genera, that fresh, sound records will be
forthcoming thanks to the consultation with specialists world-wide.
Though quality pressed voucher specimens do need to be collected such that good TYPE specimens can be available in herbaria can be
available to refer to and check-with in the future.
This will enable, IF any pressed specimens of Primulas collected in Uttarakhand were identified as other Primulas, corrections to their identities can be made.  This is, as you will know but probably not that many in this google group, standard practise in herbaria.  When a specimen is first deposited in a herbarium what in some cases is very much a PROVISIONAL identification is put on the label.  As those with specialist knowledge of the flora of a region or undertaking a revision of a genus inspect pressed specimens they add DETERMINATION SLIPS stating what they consider is the correct identification (with their name and dated).   Sometimes there are quite a number of these.
It is worth regularly repeating, these FRESH records are primarily down to active field-botany combined with photography of the necessary standard to show the detail needed (a single, general shot, not in close-up, showing little more than the ‘habit’ of a plant, will seldom be adequate). Followed by posting of these images. 
You and other keen field botanists and field photographers will have noted my request for quite a number of photos per plant for all genera, covering both floral and foliage detail rather than just one or two general images. With all aspects of plant identification it is QUALITY, rather than QUANTITY that matters.
In the Notes provided in the 1980s to those collecting specimens for Kew for the first time, they state the purpose is to ENRICH the herbarium NOT enlarge it!
These records show the potential, as yet not fully realised, of eFloraofIndia and the benefits for Indian botany of welcoming International Collaboration.
We ALL have so much to learn and discover and we ALL need as much help as is offered.
I have been offering for more than 30 years to help in the study of Himalayan flora, so it is encouraging when my help is accepted.  This is a new experience for me.
Fingers crossed this can continue. 


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