---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: chrischadwell...@btinternet.com <chrischadwell...@btinternet.com>
Date: 15 October 2016 at 18:56
Subject: Re: SK126OCT042016:ID
To: efloraofindia <indiantreepix@googlegroups.com>
Cc: jmga...@gmail.com

Yet more to say and try to explain about the challenges involved in
*attempting* to identify *Berberis.*

Whilst preparing my previous comments I was concentrating upon  information
about Nepal/E.Himalaya as the two suggested species are not known from

However, the observations of Jafri (then Herbarium, University of Karachi)
who revised Berberidaceae for 'Flora of Pakistan' are worth sharing here (I
have a copy of this booklet - what is available on the internet on
efloraofPakistan is only a fraction of the original details.

"*A difficult genus due to variable nature of its many species, probably
affected by environment and hybridization.  Overlapping of characters,
especially in leaves, stem colour, flower and berry size etc. are not
lacking in our several closely related species.  Leaf texture, serrations
etc, are said to vary from season to season and with the age of the plant
in some of our species [observation of Parker]. Fruits may be red when
immature but turn black or dark-blue with maturity.  Gregarious or sporadic
distribution, evergreen or deciduous habit, fruit colour etc. cannot be
ascertained from a dried herbarium specimen unless comprehensive fielkd
notes are provided.  Among our species... need experimental studies.
Ahrendt made comprehensive studies on the genus in several cases but he had
very few specimens from our area.  No doubt he compared herbarium specimens
and any living ones grown at Kew and other places but still some of our
species, described by him, are based on a single specimen.  From the small
number of herbarium specimens at my disposal, I find quite a number of
intergrading forms between some of the species.  Looking into the range of
variation the descriptions provided by Ahrendt for some of our species are
quite inadequate".*

*May I add that much of what he said applies to many different genera in
the Himalaya.  Previous authors often had few, often poor quality
specimens, frequently with no field notes at all.  I feel I must comment
that the quality of collection of pressed specimens for India herbaria
needs to improve for all genera.  This has resulted often in scrappy,
poorly pressed & dried specimens, usually only a single one for smaller
specimens when several should have been gathered to fill a herbarium sheet
they would ultimately be attached to.  And field notes are generally
exceedingly poor to non-existent.  This results in the reference material
in Indian herbaria frequently being inadequate.  Even if correctly
identified, only having such scraps means it is very difficult to then
compare with fresh material.  I return to my approach to plant
identification being akin to detective work - the fewer clues/supporting
evidence, the harder the task, making it more difficult to have confidence
in the ultimate objective of accurate and reliable identifications.*

*Modern-day digital cameras have the potential to help transform the
situation provided they are utilised methodically and carefully, with
quality close-ups of the essential parts of the plant.  The traditional
photos (in pre-digital days) of 1 at most two general images of the "pretty
bits" are often inadequate to identify a plant with confidence - which is
why most herbarium taxonomists declined the opportunity to attempt to
identify plants from slides in the 1980s-1990s.   Nowadays, certain
specialists rightly consider pressed specimens remain essential  but these
combined with the best of what digital photography can offer is a way
forward.  Likewise their is a need for specialists to observe living
material (whether in the wild or cultivation). As I shall continue to
repeat the Nagoya Protocol (no matter its good intentions) will damage the
study of plants and efforts to reliably identify plants.*

resources exist SHOULD be focussed on the plant species which are GENUINELY
rare.  Not those which are claimed to be 'Rare & Endangered' when they are

*One of the many reasons this google group and the efforts of Mr Garg
should be actively supported is the objective of improving the level and
consistency of identification of Indian plants.  The involvement of both
those who hold professional positions in the field of botany (not all of
them are involved directly in plant identification), those with botanical
training (though holding a degree in botany, as was the case in the UK
where nowadays no traditional botany degree courses exist, was never a
guarantee one knew how to identify plants) combined with interested
amateurs can achieve much. In the UK we have a fine tradition, through the
BSBI (now the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) of a vast amount of
field studies have been undertaken through a combination of professionals
and amateurs (many of whom were of professional standard).*

*I draw another comparison with the UK.  If someone goes for a walk on a
Sunday afternoon admiring the wild flowers they come across and casually
identify them, it does not really matter, whether or not the are correctly
named.  But if any type of survey is undertaken or the identifications are
used in any sort of printed or nowadays other means of publication, it
really does.  Too many data-bases (the world over) are being ruined by
incorrectly identified records.*

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
> syn:
> *Berberis bhutanensis* Ahrendt (synonym)
> The plant is tall about 15 ft in height or more.
> Thank you.

With regards,

'Creating awareness of Indian Flora & Fauna'

Winner of Wipro-NFS Sparrow Awards 2014 for efloraofindia

For identification, learning, discussion & documentation of Indian Flora,
please visit/ join our Efloraofindia Google e-group
<https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/indiantreepix> (largest in the
world- around 2700 members & 2,40,000 messages on 31.3.16) or Efloraofindia
website <https://sites.google.com/site/efloraofindia/> (with a species
database of more than 11,000 species & 2,20,000 images).

The whole world uses my Image Resource
<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:J.M.Garg> of more than a
thousand species & eight thousand images of Birds, Butterflies, Plants etc.
(arranged alphabetically & place-wise). You can also use them for free as
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