Dear All
Grey-Wilson(which was published in 'The Plantsman' on behalf of the UK Royal 
Horticultural Society).
Can now read through it from a better informed angle and having looked at more 
photos (and a few pressed specimens) ofthis species 'complex'. over the past 
days.   I am clearer though some characteristics do overlap (as the author 
Shall share the most important points of this account in relation to the 
confusion over similar species in the NW Himalaya and borderlandsof Western 
1.    Let us begin with C.graveolens (remember, if Stewart was correct, this is 
found @ 1000-270m in Afghanistan & Baluchistan)  - apparently immediately 
recognised by the small notch at the tip of each sepal, a unique feature in 
this section of the genus Clematis.  There are other characteristics but this 
is straightforward.  Most photos and illustrations are not correct - if one 
follows Grey-Wilson; only the following is K:
  fits - note the notch and the tip of the sepals! Grey-Wilson makes no mention 
of the supposed strong smell of this species as to its species name indicates 
but such characteristics cannot be detected from herbarium specimens - which 
primarily the material he had to work with.  Good close-up photos taken "in the 
wild" are so useful as are living specimens of known provenance in cultivation. 
 Unfortunately, although the Nagoya Protocol is well-intended, the additional 
restrictions mean that less reliable material will be available in cultivation 
- a shame and loss to efforts to conserve plant species... 
2.    C.tibetana - he gives subsp. vernayi from West & North Nepal & S.Tibet 
but not Ladakh or anywhere in Indian Trans-HimalayaI have seen this in the 
Upper Kali Gandaki Valley, Nepal.   There is a C.tibetana subsp. tibetana from 
Kumaon; it differs principally in is less thick and more pointed sepals.  He 
recognises var. lanciniifolia endemic to West Nepal esp.  upper reaches of 
Upper Kali Ganaki.
I shall be posting my thinking from each entry for C.tibetana and C.ladakhiana 
in efloraofIndia - most are not correct.....
3.    C.ladakhiana - he says this is similar to C.tibetana (which is certainly 
the case); he does not seem to have seen photos of very attractive forms of 
this species and does not mention flower colour at all (this is the problem 
with only being able to examine pressed specimens whenthe are few, if any field 
notes esp. not mentioning flower colour - which often changes when a plant has 
dried).  He says the leaflets are narrow-lanceolate, entire or with one to 
several acute lobes in the lower half, the apex drawn out into a long acute 
tip. Sepals lanceolate to elliptical, acute, glabrous outside but silkily 
pubescent inside.Most of the images at 
 are correct but the first has been misidentified!  Though as t comes from a 
gardening forum this comes as no surprise.
4.    C.orientalis - he says main features to note are the glaucous lobed or 
unlobed leaflets and small flowers with reflexed sepals.  In combination, these 
features distinguish it from all other members of this section of the genus.  
It is certainly an immensely variable species, hardly surprising for a taxon 
that has a west-east distribution of some 4500km!
5.     C.tangutica - I have to say that I find its disjunct distribution rather 
surprising (though that in essence is normally the case for 'disjunct' 
distributions..), primarily Western China pus North Kashmir (incl. Ladakh).  It 
has green, serrate-margined leaves and lemon-yellow lantern-flowers.  
Subspecies are recognised.  Sepals drawn out into an acute tip.
I consider it would be helpful, especially for the non-taxonomists (of which I 
am one) in this google group if I summarise Grey-Wilson's introductory notes to 
this article as these provide an excellent explanation as to the difficulties 
faced by taxonomists when trying to "place into neat pigeon-holes of species, 
subspecies or varieties" plants which exhibit complex variation.  After all, 
their purpose is to clarify and attempt to clear up muddles and confusions 
which have often existed for 2-3 hundred years!
He rightly states that Clematis species present a number of fundamental 
problems of classification.  Foremost amongst these is the limited number of 
useful and stable characteristics that can be usefully employed separating 
species or species complexes. Ranunculaceae in genealis notoriously difficult 
in this respect, with genera such as Aconitum, Anemone, Delphinium, and 
Ranunculus, besides Clematis, all with a host of closely interrelated groups of 
species and species complexes.  Species often appear to be quite distinct in 
one part of their range, whilst overlapping in various characters in another.  
This is certainly true of C.orientalis and its allies, where the position is 
further complicated by the occurenc of natural hybrid which 'blur' he species 
boundaries and complicate identification.
I am in no position to suggest hybrids as the explanation for images, often not 
showing sufficient overall detail, not fitting satisfactorily into the species 
of this complex outlined by Grey-Wilson.  That is the domain of someone who has 
specialised in the genus and revised it in the Himalaya.   It was Grey-Wilson 
who named C.ladakhiana.  He asked my team from the University of Southampton to 
collect pressed specimens of Clematis during our 1980 expedtion.
Nevertheless, in the absence of such an authority available to check, then it 
seems reasonable for me to offer my current thought as to the identity of the 
Clematis orientalis complex found in the NW Himalaya and Indian Trans-Himalaya 
- it will certainly represent an improvement on the utter muddle which 
presently exist - and my provisional identifications can then be corrected or 
amended in the future but at present the situation is bewildering.   Though the 
same applies to my genera in the NW Himalaya.

Best Wishes,

Chris Chadwell

81 Parlaunt Road 

      From: J.M. Garg <>
 To: efloraofindia <> 
Cc: Saroj Kasaju <>;
 Sent: Thursday, 13 October 2016, 5:43
 Subject: [efloraofindia:253559] Fwd: Clematis tibetana Kuntze
Forwarding again for Id assistance please.Some earlier relevant feedback:       
| Dickore & Klimes list 4 taxa for Clematis in Ladakh: C.ladakhiana, 
C.orientalis, Clematis orientalis var. tenuifolia and C.tangutica.
They do not list C.tibetana.  
Stewart only listed C.orientalis - he omitted the varieties proposed e.g. var. 
tenuifolia from Pangong and var. acutifolia.  C.ladakhiana wasnot known at that 
I am currently a bit unsure about some specimens.  Prior to my first visit to 
Ladakh in 1980, Kew's Dr Grey-Wilson, A Clematis specialist, asked usto look 
out for Clematis in the Suru Valley - we found a specimen climbing along walls 
separating fields at Kargil.
I consider photos 3 and 4 shot in the Nubra Valley are what I understand to be 
C.ladakhiana.  I am unsure about photos 1 & 2.  I recollect viewing pressed 
specimens of a Clematis from Pakistan which had very dissected foliage with 
narrow leaflets and small flowers which I understood to be within C.orientalis.
Grey-Wilson did write an article in 'The Plantsman' (I do not have the full 
reference to-hand) but was left unsure about distinguishing between these 
closely-related species.
Would welcome the thoughts of others. - from Chris Chadwell ji.  |
| Picture 1 and 2 and the additional picture.I guess it is Clematis graveolens 
Sending link for reference also. Link 1Link 2Link 3  |
| I can understand that Clematis graveolens  would be suggested as a 
According to Stewart, C.graveolens is only found from 1000-2700m in many parts 
of Pakistan and Kashmir, through to Kishtwar.  Also Afghanistan.  On the outer 
ranges of the Himalaya.
His comment was " often confused with Clematis orientalis of the hot inner 
I must try and locate the article by Grey-Wilson in 'The Plantsman' (the title 
was along the lines of Clematis orientalis aand its allies, I spoke off to see 
what he says of C.graveolens.  Though as I said previously, I remained somewhat 
confused after reading it last time.
I cannot speak with authority, so we need input by a Clematis specialist here.  
Dickore and Klimes would have been fully aware of C.graveolens when compiling 
their check-list for Ladakh and do not include this species.
'Flowers of Himalaya' describe C.graveolens as "sweet scented, pale yellow 
(which does not fit with the painting of C.graveolens) with elliptic spreading 
petals usually notched at apex and conspicuously hairy with a band of hairs on 
the margin outside, hairy inside, flowers 2-5 cm across; a slender climber. 
They record it from dry areas, banks, edges of cultivation at 900-3000m from 
Afghanistan to C.Nepal, A common problem with many photos even high quality 
close-ups, one cannot always see the necessary detail to check such 
characteristics.  It is worth repeating, time and time again, we should always 
be aware that most taxonomy is based upon examining closely, dried, pressed 
specimens in herbaria - not from fresh, living plants.  Until very recently, 
few photographs from the "field [wild]" were available to consult.  Hopefully, 
in time, as more and more quality close-up images taken with digital cameras 
become available to those revising genera taxonomically, characteristics may be 
noticed which can be diagnostic in fresh specimens.
In the mean-time, do keep posting images, take many more per plant/specimen (as 
I am advocating) on future occasions and where possible, make notes in the 
field describing features of Clematis and other genera which need close 
inspection.  A good quality hand lens (at least x10, ideally x 20 or even more 
sophisticated if available) makes a big difference and is an indispensable tool 
for any keen amateur botanist (and essential for professional ones).
The more this is done (accepting that it can be very tiring, indeed exhausting, 
exploring for plants up in the mountains esp. in extremes of temperature - and 
at the highest altitudes it is hard to record things methodically). But the 
better the images send in to efloraofIndia, the greater the contribution it can 
make - and considerably aids attempts at reliable identifications.  We need to 
achieve the best identifications as possible, otherwise others will just assume 
what is on this site is correct.
Best Wishes,Chris Chadwell

|  Yes only confusion is the altitude which is not much different but looks 
like it is matching?
Any expert help??
Thank you. Saroj   |
|     |
|     |
|     |
|     |

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Saroj Kasaju <>
Date: 29 September 2016 at 15:45
Subject: Clematis tibetana Kuntze
To: efloraofindia <>, "J.M. Garg" 

Dear Members,
Sharing some pictures I guess is Clematis tibetana Kuntze shot at Nubra Valley 
on 21 August 2014.
Please verify ID if first two pictures are same sp.
Thank you.
Saroj Kasaju

With regards,
J.M.Garg'Creating awareness of IndianFlora & Fauna'Winner of Wipro-NFS Sparrow 
Awards 2014 for efloraofindia. 
For identification,learning, discussion & documentation of Indian Flora, please 
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