SK848 03 Nov-2017:ID : 7 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (5)

Location: Thulo Phedi, Taplejung, Nepal
Date: 18 April 2017
Altitude: 11000 ft. 
Rhododendron …???

To me appears closer to images at Rhododendron anthopogon D. Don as per comparative images at Rhododendron
Pl. confirm.

Sorry but the Rhododendron photographed at Thulo Phedi, Nepal by Saroj is definitely not R.anthopogon. I do not have the time to check further but it is not close!  Part of the problem is that only 5 images are provided and they are all some distance away from the plants themselves. It may well be that there are others who will immediately recognise the correct species but without close-ups of the flowers or foliage (incl. undersides of leaves) the identification process is much harder and of course the flowers are only in bud, which makes the challenge greater. 

Whilst R.anthopogon is a candidate in terms of being found at such elevations in Nepal and a common species, if one takes a quick look at even a brief written summary of the characteristics of this species, such as in ‘Flowers of the Himalaya’ (1984) it immediately becomes apparent the images taken at Thulo Phedi are not of R.anthopogon. It really is important to secure close-up images of flowers and foliage – if this means climbing up branches, then this needs to be done (if that is beyond your physical capabilities, then a more nimble companion could undertake the ascent, gather a small spray inl. foliage and bring back down – this sampling would not damage a tall shrub or tree; any shrub or tree near habitation is liable to be lopped for fire-wood or felled for various purposes, so a one-off, modest gathering for photographic purposes has no conservation implications, just as a Nepalese botanist is entitled to gather a sample for pressing to use to get an identification in a herbarium). 

BUT, why would such climbing be required if it was R.anthopogon – as the highest it gets to is to 60cm!  The much taller specimens photographed by … are clearly not a dwarf shrub – I am familiar with R.anthopogon typically at c. 30cm.
I plan to latter comment in detail about comparison with existing images of Rhododendron or any other genus on the eFI data-base but shall limit myself to one brief example. The assumption that is made when comparing images, is that almost all the ‘reference’ images have been correctly identified. IF they have not, this leads to confusion and further misidentifications. So let us see: /species/a—l/e/ericaceae/rhododendron/rhododendron-anthopogon – unfortunately, the second image (only a single one and not a good close-up) taken at Tawang, Arunachal) is not Rhododendron anthopogon. Further confusion. 

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