Hymenidium amabile (Craib & W. W. Sm.) M. G. Pimenov & F. V.
Kljuykov (syn: Pleurospermum amabile Craib ex W. W. Sm.);
SE-Tibet, China (Sichuan, W-Yunnan), Bhutan, Chumbi, India (E-Himalaya) as per Catalogue of Life;


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Fwd: Pleurospermum amabile specimen in Bhutan : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1)

Further to my posting of links to images of this species photographed during a high-altitude trek in Bhutan, I attach an image of a pressed specimen of this in the mini-herbarium of the National Institute of Traditional Medicine in Thimphu, taken when I was a consultant to The Royal Government of Bhutan.
The specimen was collected on Yak La, Linghsi, Bhutan in July 1990.
Even in the pressed state it remains an attractive plant with rich colouration – though herbarium specimens SHOULD always be accompanied by field notes which include any characteristics of a plant which might change during the drying process; this applies to colours. Otherwise it leads to FALSE descriptions of flower colour!
A hand lens allows inspection of colours of smaller floral parts such as stamens & stigmas, which may not be readily observed with the naked eye.
Too many herbarium specimens are virtually without field notes of any description, at times not even a location or altitude – all this greatly reduces their value.
When I e.g. refer to pressed specimens collected during the University of Southampton Expeditions to Ladakh & Zanskar in 1980 & 1981, I provide details of the field notes taken.
Sometimes I see notes accompanying pressed specimens which clearly were copied from a flora, NOT made at the time of collection – in the cases where the specimens have been misidentified, this compounds the false information further…….


I was recently contacted by Roger Nix to try to identify a wonderful-looking (to my eyes) umbellifer (now Apiaceae family) growing through snow he had photographed during a high-altitude trek in Bhutan.
Few have the funds available to undertake such a trek or perhaps the physical strength, as its involves crossing a number of high passes in Northern Bhutan. 
There appears to only be one species of Pleurospermum (of the 9 or so from the Himalaya) posted on eFI. Have taken a cursory glance at the postings. A number of members thought the assorted images might have been of P.candollei but they are definitely not. It is my intention
to check more closely at some stage.
For the present, let me concentrate upon the distinctive-looking Pleurospermum amabile:
What a striking plant. I have not seen it in the wild myself but knew it as a medicinal species when I was a consultant to ‘The Royal Government of Bhutan’ on ‘The Cultivation of Medicinal Plants for Traditional Medicine’ in the 1990s.
‘Flora of Bhutan’ says this is rather rare but a striking endemic to Bhutan and Tibet (south of Lhasa into Chumbi Valley and across towards the border with NW Yunnan).  Inhabits screes and exposed turf @ 3950-4700m.
Chumbi was the route British mountaineering expeditions followed from Indian territory for attempts on Everest from Tibet (the north). Everest, as we all know, was first climbed in 1953, from the south, through Nepal. Nepal had been closed to foreigners until 1949.
Those members interested in Himalayan flora know ‘Flowers of the Himalaya’. The authors, Oleg Polunin and Adam Stainton, participated in joint Royal Horticultural Society/Natural History Museum of London expeditions to Nepal in the years before and after the first ascent of Everest.
Whilst it was the resources of a British Expedition combined with the technical climbing skill of Hillary (who was first to negotiated the ‘Hillary Step’ near the summit) which were essential, the most significant contribution to the success was undoubtedly Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.  His previous experience with teams from Switzerland (who got painfully close to the summit, the year before, if my memory serves me correctly)
made the difference.  It is of no consequence who actually stood on the summit first and ALL mountaineering expeditions STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE WHO WENT BEFORE and one should never forget the contributions of all those who involved in such ventures, whether ‘Britishers’ or locals – whose vital role is often over-looked.
Whilst not a mountaineer or rock-climber myself, I understand enough to state that the dreadful “tabloid-style” journalism which proclaims high mountains have been ‘Conquered’ should be PERMANTLY DELETED and never used again!   Such IGNORANCE….  Such mountains are NOT ‘conquered’ The mountain Gods PERMIT some to reach the top and then they should be GRATEFUL to be allowed back down again in one piece and that no member of the expedition (including sherpas and porters) are harmed.
IF one wishes to ascend to the top of a mountain then fine and the physical (and not forgetting mental) achievement can be admired.   I would certainly have admired the views IF I had ever ‘scaled’ a high Himalayan Peak – I never did but it should not be at the expense of other lives, especially porters or sherpas…..


References:

Catalogue of Life (Hymenidium amabile (Craib & W.W. Sm.) M.G. Pimenov & F. V.
Kljuykov)  The Plant List Ver.1.1  Tropicos  IPNI
 GBIF (with type specimen) Flora of China 
India Biodiversity Portal Observation | Bhutan Biodiversity Portal  rbg-web2

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