Arenaria globiflora (Fenzl) Wall. ex Edgew. & Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 238 1874. (syn: Cherleria grandiflora D.Don; Dolophragma globiflorum Fenzl);

Nepal, Tibet as per Catalogue of Life;


One of the ways I can best assist eFI is to increase its coverage of Himalayan flora.
Ideally, I can submit my own images, whether scanned in ones of slides taken during my travels in the past or digital shots in recent years.
I can also, when sent directly sets of images from Ladakh (and occasionally other parts of the Himalaya) for identification check if any represent species not covered at all or show additional features to complement existing images. This is a drawn-out process as permission must be sought for the images to be used.
Another way, and this plus the time spent attempting to identify images sent to, is to draw attention to quality images available on the internet (providing the link) of species not on eFI to-date or as above, providing additional information.
In recent weeks I have devoted time to naming images from Baltistan (which although not part of Indian territory has a flora which overlaps a great deal with that of Ladakh’s – indeed Stewart, whom I met in California, handed me the first few pages of a check-list of Baltistan & Ladakh plants he had begun) and more recently Nepal (Khumbu Himalaya, with quite a number of images outstanding.
Always wise to put previous efforts to good use.
Even in the case of a species which to-date has not been recorded from the Indian Himalaya, it is worthwhile to have quality reference images for comparison purposes, either to eliminate the species from consideration when naming other species belonging to the same genus or to “keep an eye open” for this within territory bordering, in this case Nepal, where it MIGHT just be found.
This group has, subject to a final confirmation, been able to ‘identify’ a first record for a Primula in Uttarakhand and perhaps a new variety or subspecies of another.
Such records, when CONFIRMED as especially satisfying.
A majority of Marijn’s images were correctly identified, which I could confirm, though in others, they were not.  This is the normal situation,
with only photos and limited references available.
I am always inspired by Marijn’s photos, wishing I had been with him to share the often fabulous scenery in the mountains and delightful flowers.
See: http://photos.v-d-brink.eu/Flora-and-Fauna/Asia/Nepal-Khumbu-Himal/i-nxL9nwx  and quite a number of other shots of this species.
Despite not being in flower, this plant has distinctive (to my eye) foliage.   My comments on his site were:
This is not A.polytrichoides (which has been recorded from Khumbu Himal but mostly amongst mats of Kobresia @ 5000-5500m. It is Arenaria globiflora typically found on wind-blown dwarf juniper scrublands between 4000-5000m. This species forms small compact hemispherical tufts of rigid spiny-tipped spreading leaves, 8-10mm. It has relatively large white, short-stalked flowers. A.polytrichoides has tufts of minute leaves 2-3mm with tiny stalkless white flowers.
According to ‘Flowers of the Himalaya’ Arenaria globiflora is found from Western to Eastern Nepal @ 3600-4500m on stony slopes in dry areas.
So perhaps … and others active in the field in Uttarakhand can keep an “eye out” for it in promising locations. Or perhaps it has already been recorded there?
Certainly a very attractive sandwort. Plants are not always conveniently at the peak of flowering when we come across them.  So images of foliage and fruits are invaluable – particularly when undertaking surveys or assessing abundance or rarity.  IF field-botanists can ONLY identify a plant when perfectly in flower (or notices it in the first place) a false impression is gained.  Marjin’s images are outstanding in terms of showing the habitat where a species is found, which is such useful information, like having detailed field notes to accompany a pressed specimen in a herbarium (such notes/information is often missing) contributing to how DRY and ‘botanical’ most checklists are. IF WE ARE TO MEANINGFULLY CONSERVE PLANTS IN THE WILD WE NEED TO KNOW IN WHAT PLACES THEY GROW. This can only be discovered in the field NOT in a herbarium alone.
And I hope, rather than being intimidated by Marijn’s exceptional photos, photographers in this group who can trek in mountains should savour them and be inspired to match or even improve upon them in future years. It is so helpful that he often takes several shots of each species.
We should all be looking to improve and RAISE THE BAR.


 

I neglected to mention that anyone undertaking a pilgrimage to Muktinath, in the Upper Kali Gandaki (Mustang Region) of Nepal can then look out for Arenaria globiflora on scree slopes and sometimes ‘meadows’ @ 3500-4600m.
It can even be found below Thorung La – though it is not recommended to attempt to reach the pass from the Muktinath side. The dangers of this region were brought home by the death of large numbers of inexperienced trekkers, porters and guides the other year.
Always respect high mountains and ALWAYS carry full weather and water-proof gear when attempting to cross high passes anywhere and a proper First Aid Kit.  Thorung La is high (5416m) but does not even require  even a basic scramble, let alone rock climbing but is a long, hard, at times steep, plod to the top.  Not everyone will cope well with the altitude. 
Whether the trekker is a Westerner or Indian, it is THEIR responsibility to keep themselves, their companions and any porters or guides they hire, safe. Too often the so-called ‘guides’ and porters are inexperienced young men who live in villages at much lower elevations and have little or no experience of such altitudes.
BEWARE.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.