Silene moorcroftiana Wall. ex Benth., Ill. Bot. Himal. Mts. 79 1834. (syn: Silene gyirongensis L.H. Zhou; Silene persica subsp. moorcroftiana (Wall. ex Benth.) Chowdhuri);

Common name: Moorcroft Campion

W-Tibet, Afghanistan, Jammu & Kashmir (Ladakh, Zanskar, Kashmir), India
(Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh), Pakistan (Kurram, Chitral, Swat, Hazara),
Pakistani Kashmir (Astor, Gilgit, Baltistan), Nepal
as per Catalogue of Life;



 

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Fwd: Silene moorcroftiana : 6 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (1)

I am surprised that Moorcroft’s Campion, honouring William Moorcroft, is not on eFI, given how common it is in Kashmir and also Ladakh.
My team collected this during the University of Southampton Ladakh Expedition in 1980 at Rangdum, Suru Valley, 4235m, mountain slope, N-facing, stony ground, dry sandy ‘soil’ with grasses.  To 25cm, calyx elongated, stripped reddish-brown, petals white with reddish-
brown veins underneath. In clumps. A duplicate pressed specimen was deposited in the herbarium at the University of Kashmir.
The 1981 Southampton University Botanical Expedition to Zanskar found it at Padam – occasional in dry stony soil of valley floor.
Klimes found it in dry habitats – screes, rocky crevices & walls.
Flowers of Himalaya says it is found on rocky slopes & wastelands, common in dry areas from Afghanistan to Central Nepal @ 2700-4500m.
Stewart recorded it as very common in the Kashmir Valley and in Ladakh @ 2400-4800m.
Flora of Lahual-Spiti found this frequent on dry slopes and in rock crevices, often forming large clumps.
Dickore & Klimes list 10 species of Silene for Ladakh.
Stewart observed that the Lychnis-Silene complex would be a suitable Ph.D. thesis for an ambitious student. The synonymy is difficult and too many new names have been proposed.  
See: http://photos.v-d-brink.eu/Flora-and-Fauna/Asia/Pakistan-new/i-wjg94bm photographed in Baltistan and the previous image illustrating it growing as a clump.
I attach an image photographed in Ladakh on my behalf scanned in from a slide.


S.moorcroftiana seems to be a species of arid subalpines and alpines in Western Himalaya. It is also known in Uttarakhand but rarely collected. Since I have not visited any arid alpine zone in Uttarakhand not seen this species in nature. There is one another species which is often wrongly identified as S.moorcroftiana in Indian herbaria. The exact ID is yet to be ascertained of this misidentified species.


Yes, …, Moorcroft’s Campion inhabits ‘Tibetan Borderland’ districts but Stewart records it as very common in Kashmir with specimens from Sonamarg, Zoji La (which are close to Ladakh) but also Gulmarg.
He also had records from Kurram, Chitral, Swat, Astor, Baltistan, Purig, Hazara – so very much a NW Himalayan alpine’ to ‘higher alpine’ species as well.
There are records for S.moorcroftiana in Nepal and Tibet plus Afghanistan.
As Stewart correctly stated the Silene-Lychnis complex is complicated.
I note he had Silene cashmeriana Majumdar as Lychnis cashmeriana Royle ex Benth, common in N.Pakistan & Kashmir @ 1500-3600m. 
Yet another ‘difficult’ genus which requires attention (and no doubt further revision).
At some point I hope to take a closer look at the postings for this genus on eFI but SO MANY waiting for attention.
To cover all the genera, IN AN INITIAL/PRELIMINARY way, on the eFI site with representatives from the Himalaya (if I worked full-time and did NOTHING else) would take MONTHS if not YEARS.
And should I be prioritising this above LOTS of other tasks I could be doing including compiling an up-to-date Flora for Ladakh (indeed perhaps the whole of the NW Himalaya, most likely excluding Uttarakhand, as ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Himachal Pradesh’ territory is MORE THAN ENOUGH….
Indeed, should I begin devoting time to plants found in Uttarakhand at all or Nepal or Sikkim?
At present, it does not seem likely that I shall be in a position to continue contributing other than on a MUCH-REDUCED basis for much longer. Pity, as lots to do and SHARE.
There are e.g. 11 Silene listed in ‘Flora of Lahaul-Spiti’ some of which are new to me (and not listed by Stewart)….

It is up to you how you wish to contribute to eFI. We are fortunate that your expertise is with us to help us.
Every body in this group is working selflessly and devoting as much time as one can without harming his/her own works.
Wherever you concentrate the group will be benefited.


Thanks for your comments. Yes, no matter how supportive individual members are of this group, those holding full-time positions must put such duties first. I have only been able to devote the amount of time I have in recent months due to unusual circumstances which cannot last but consider I should try and contribute as best I can, whilst I can.  Cannot expect to be appointed a ‘Research Associate’
to study Ladakh and NW Himalayan flora, along the lines Dr Ralph Stewart was (see below).
The vast majority of botanists holding jobs as traditional botanists in the UK & US have botany, especially field-botany, as a hobby but they still put in long hours at their jobs. Such jobs are few-and-far between in the UK.  Posts in herbaria have been decimated in both UK and US herbaria in recent decades.  I gave up on botanical survey work in the UK in the 1980s because, at best this consisted of short-term, summer contracts.  Earnings in the UK may well be higher than India but we have a lot more taxes (local and national) to pay and these are year-round.   Yes, earning in the UK but spending in India meant that my UK pounds went much further – at least in the 1980 and 1990s, when every time I came to India, I got more Rs to the pound.
I have had the good fortune to visit the Ann Arbor Herbarium, University of Michigan during lecture tours in North America. Dr Anton ‘Tony’ Reznicek kindly hosted me on both occasions, now a Professor.  On the first occasion, back in 1986, he even drove me out to meet the late Dr Walter Koelz, who along with Thakur Rup Chand assisted by local collectors amassed thousands of pressed specimens on behalf Russian Nicholas Roerich’s Urusvati Institute, Kulu Valley HP in the 1930s.  A set of specimens went to Ann Arbor, where they languished for
decades until Dr Stewart, upon retirement as Principal of Gordon College, Rawalpindi, was appointed (aged 70) as Research Associate to name (with the help of specialists) the thousands of specimens.  Funds were found (in part from the USDA plus the University) for this admirable project.
Stewart was thus, for the first time, able to devote his energies, accumulated knowledge and expertise to plants on a full-time basis. The result, amongst other publications along with the identified, labelled and mounted specimens – which represent the BEST set of specimens of Kulu Valley and Lahoul (plus some from Ladakh) flora I know of in any herbarium in the world, with often quite good accompanying field notes, was his thousand-page ‘An Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Pakistan & Kashmir. 
From this, along with the large herbarium he had built up at Gordon College, the Flora of Pakistan Project undertook revisions, family-by-family now available through eFlora of Pakistan which members of this group regularly consult. What a pity such a Catalogue does not exist for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand nor a full flora of India.
I think members of this group should realise ALL my studies and research on Ladakh (and NW Himalayan) flora have been undertaken on a VOLUNTARY basis in my spare-time since 1980.
I have NEVER been able to secure funding for my research indeed am considerably out-of-pocket as a result. I have no car nor even a mobile phone!  Nor comfortable pension to look forward to. Some may say, what a FOOL I have been! 
I know of no other person who would have done what I have, in any country.  And had I lived in the US or many other countries, without a National Health Service or extensive Rail network (enabling me travel all over the country without a car) could not have done so.
I consider it important to mention that where I live, almost all the better housing is owned by Indians.  I have no issue with this – good luck to them.  But had I, instead of devoting so much time, for free (and paying for the privilege out of my own, limited finances), I too could now be living in one of those houses, owning a number of cars.
My sister, who always earned much more than I did, once exclaimed, “You have NOTHING (by which she meant MATERIALLY) and it does not bother you”.   True, compared to most people in the UK and increasingly in India I am Poorly off FINANCIALY, but I am fortunate compared to a majority of the world’s population.
In the UK one can survive as an “eccentric”, which I certainly am but I still have bills and taxes to pay.   How else would our National Health Service be funded or our generous FOREIGN AID projects be funded?


I have plenty of Silene moorcroftiana collected in early 1970s. I am uploading three

1. From Sanku, Suru Valley, alt. 2900m, No. 2830, 23/7/1971 image DSC00514
2. Mathoo, Ladakh, alt. 3200m, No. 4242, 26/7/1972  Local name Tosh Bulbul, image DSC00516
3. Ladakh, place not specified, 27/7/1970, No. 1035, image DSC00513
All deposited at Herbarium of Khalsa College, Delhi
The species is very common in Ladakh
I will upload images of other species not in our database.
Attachments (3)


 

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