One always must be ultra cautious when suggesting species names for
*Berberis*. I often go on about difficult genera identification-wise.
This genus is seriously challenging. Mr Tebbs who prepared the account for
Berberidaceae within 'An Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal' (Vol
II, 1979) commented that his list was based mainly on the work of Ahrendt
in 1961. However, various problems still remain. A critical revision of
this genus is urgently needed based upon the abundant material recently
collected in Nepal and adjacent regions. As far as I know the situation
remains the same today! Work has been done in China (though differences of
opinion have arisen) and I believe work is underway covering the extreme
East of the Himalaya/NE India but how much that will help in Nepal,
remains to be seen (and the Indian Western Himalaya of course). 'Flowers
of the Himalaya' say, "Individual species are often difficult to
distinguish from each other". I have come across quite a number of
Berberis in various parts of the Himalaya and remain uncertain as to their
identity. *So IF someone with expertise in this genus in the main Himalaya
incl. Nepal exists and is available to view these images and comment with
authority, that would be great but in the mean time we must be careful in
our attempts at naming.*
*For the present, I will comment as best I can, having not attempted to
make a special study of Berberis in the Himalaya.*
Only having a very poor pressed specimen at Kew to go on see:
http://apps.kew.org/herbcat/getImage.do?imageBarcode=K000340245 and the
information in 'Flora of Bhutan' Vol 1 Part 2 (1984) where the leaves are
described as elliptic (which hardly fits the specimen at Kew) including it
is only recorded from Bhutan and not Sikkim, making a record from the
Kathmandu Valley unlikely. I do not consider it comes near to
*B.griffithiana*. There was no record for *B.griffithiana* in the Nepal
Grierson who wrote the account of Berberidaceae for this Flora commented
about the great variability within this genus numerous varieties have been
created; for the sake of simplicity these were largely ignored and he
discounted several old records of Berberis species supposedly found in the
As for the definite ident of *B.aristata* - I really cannot be sure. The
fruits are immature, so that does not help and the non-close-up views of
foliage do not match so images which may be reliable, such as in 'Flowers
of the Himalaya'. I also consider the closer view of the undersurface of a
leaf is not consistent with the strictly limited detail I have about this
species. The foliage shown in a number of pressed specimens at Kew (see
I have consulted 'The Flora of Kathmandu Valley' - this lists 4 species:
*B.wallichiana*, *B.asiatica*, *B.chitria* and *B.aristata*. Clearly, and
with due respect, this was a highly provisional account especially for such
a difficult genus. I found the descriptions of the species somewhat
contradictory. Certainly, altitude-wise, what they took to be *B.aristata*
(but that is no guarantee of the identification) was found at elevations of
2400-2700m, which is consistent to where Saroj photographed the Berberis.
*In conclusion, we can be pretty confident it is not B.griffithiana but not
sure it comes within B.aristata. Looking forward to a critical revision
of this genus. In what remains my lifetime? We shall see.*
On Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 3:23:23 PM UTC+1, Saroj Kumar Kasaju wrote:
> Dear Members,
> Sharing some pictures for ID shot at the Chandragiri Hill Kathmandu on 19
> September 2016 at 8200 ft.
> Could it be
> *Berberis griffithiana *var.* pallida* (J. D. Hooker & Thomson) D. F.
> Chamberlain & C. M. Hu
> *Berberis bhutanensis* Ahrendt (synonym)
> The plant is tall about 15 ft in height or more.
> Thank you.
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