Many thanks Tapas. 
Yes but the field observations need to be made in the first (good quality 
digital photos taken methodicallycan be a big help in this respect - something 
which has only became possible in recent years) with detailed written notes 
taken to accompany all pressed voucher specimens made - observations made 
usinghands lens @ x10 and x20 magnification should be the norm.
Unfortunately, many of the 19th Century specimens collected in the Himalaya 
(even if they havebeen preserved well in Indian herbaria) had few if any field 
notes.  Sadly, the situation has often not beenmuch better since Indian 
Independence.  This and the quality of actual pressed specimens needs to 
improve.   Otherwise it makes it very hard to reliably name many plants in 
Indian herbaria.
The best set of pressed specimens I have seen from the NW Himalaya collected in 
the first half of the 20th Century(in Kulu Valley, Lahoul, Ladakh) were in the 
1930s by Thakur Rup Chand (from Lahoul's leading family)and Dr Walter Koelz of 
the University of Michigan - a lot of time and effort were devoted to collected 
thesethousands (tens of thousands I believe) of specimens.  There were often 
good field notes accompanying these - though hardlydetailed by what can be done 
nowadays.   Though far superior to any I have seen in the major UK Herbaria for 
this region atKew, Natural History Museum or Edinburgh.
These specimens were primarily collected on behalf of the Russian Nicholas 
Roerich for his Urusvati Institute at Naggar, Kulu Valley.I have inspected 
quite a number of a duplicate set which was named (by Dr R R Stewart whose 
'Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Pakistan & Kashmir' I regularly 
refer to - Stewart under took this task from the age 70 for some 20 years after 
retiring as Principal of Gordon College, Rawalpindi).  They are house in the 
Ann Arbor Herbarium, University of Michigan.  I was able to do thisthanks to 
being on two lecture tours which included Michigan and the support of Professor 
Reznicek.
A duplicate set of specimens was deposited in the museum at the Urusvati 
Institute where they have languished for 80+years.  I have attempted but failed 
on more than one occasion to gain access to assess their condition (some will 
surelyhave rotted or suffered insect infestation) but others probably remain in 
satisfactory condition.  What a pitysuch a resource is going to waste.
And in these days of concerns over rare & endangered species, what an 
outstanding source of comparative status data ofthe presence in the 1930s of 
particular species which could be compared with the occurrence (or not) of the 
same species inthe same location nowadays.   This would represent meaningful 
data to judge towards conservation measures.  As I said, what a shame.....   
Though not too late to do something about it, as dried, pressed specimens can 
last for hundreds of years and with somebody like myself to check the identify 
of the specimens, quite a lot may be able to be salvaged.   Though would 
require resources and motivation at a senior level.

Best Wishes,

Chris Chadwell

81 Parlaunt Road 
SLOUGH
SL3 8BE
UK

www.shpa.org.uk





      From: Tapas Chakrabarty <tchak...@gmail.com>
 To: C CHADWELL <chrischadwell...@btinternet.com> 
Cc: efloraofindia <indiantreepix@googlegroups.com>; J.M. Garg 
<jmga...@gmail.com>
 Sent: Tuesday, 18 October 2016, 16:44
 Subject: Re: [efloraofindia:254111] Re: Aconitum heterophyllum [?] 
(Ranunculaceae) from North Sikkim.
   
Dear Sir,Thank you.The photograph was taken from a plant near Thangu, North 
Sikkim at about 4000 m altitude.This key belongs to an unpublished manuscript 
on the Flora of Sikkim and the family Ranunculaceae is authored by R. C. 
Srivastava, ex Scientist of Botanical Survey of India.it is indeed well known 
that the keys to the taxa of certain plant families should be prepared by 
supplementary field observations as well.Regards, Tapas.
On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 8:08 PM, C CHADWELL <chrischadwell...@btinternet.com> 
wrote:

Dear Tapas
Thanks for sending the key.  Would you let me know which publication this comes 
from?
Would you also please provide an approx. altitude and general location where 
you took your photos?Such information is important and should always accompany 
any images of any genus sent foridentification.
I do have the key in 'Flora of Bhutan' Vol 1 Part 2 (1984), which covers Sikkim 
as well but clearly the knowledge of the genus in the E.Himalaya has advanced 
since then. 
One must always use keys with caution.  They are difficult to prepare and 
inevitably imperfect.  They canserve a useful purpose in narrowing down the 
most likely candidates but even so.
A major problem is that most are mostly prepared from a limited number of 
dried, pressed herbarium specimens -the characteristics of living/fresh 
specimens is often not known by herbarium taxonomists.
The detail one can see in photos - not matter how close-up they are (and yours 
are not) is often inadequateand/or requires inspect of both flowers and fruit, 
which seldom are available together.

Best Wishes,

Chris Chadwell

81 Parlaunt Road 
SLOUGH
SL3 8BE
UK

www.shpa.org.uk





      From: Tapas Chakrabarty <tchak...@gmail.com>
 To: 
Cc: efloraofindia <indiantreepix@googlegroups. com>; J.M. Garg 
<jmga...@gmail.com>
 Sent: Tuesday, 18 October 2016, 9:04
 Subject: Re: [efloraofindia:254056] Re: Aconitum heterophyllum [?] 
(Ranunculaceae) from North Sikkim.
  
Thank you Chadwell ji,There are 12 species of Aconitum recorded for Sikkim. I 
have no knowledge in this group.Someone gave me a Key to the species in Sikkim 
which I am furnishing below thinking that it may be of some use.Regards,Tapas.

|  1a.  |  Climbing or twining herbs                                            
                              2. A. elwesiii                                    
              |
|    b.  |  Erect herbs                                                         
                                                             2  |
|  2a.  |  Annual herbs with slender tap roots; carpels 9 – 12                  
             5. A. gymnandrum  |
|   b.  |  Perennial or biennial herbs, usually with a paired tap root; carpels 
3 – 5 (-8)                3  |
|  3a.  |  Inflorescences 1 – 4-flowered                                        
                         10. A. naviculare  |
|   b.  |  Inflorescences many-flowered                                         
                                                 4  |
|  4a.  |  Perennial herbs                                                      
                            11. A. novoluridum  |
|   b.  |  Biennial herbs                                                       
                                                         5  |
|  5a.  |  Petals hispid or hispidulous                                         
                                                     6  |
|   b.  |  Petals glabrous                                                      
                                                             9  |
|  6a.  |  Carpels glabrous, drying black                                       
                              4. A. gammiei  |
|   b.  |  Carpels pubescent                                                    
                                                       7  |
|  7a.  |  Carpels 3 (-4 – 5)                                                   
                              8. A. laciniatum  |
|  b.  |  Carpels 5                                                             
                                                           8  |
|  8a.  |  
Uppermost sepal horizontal, conspicuously beaked; carpels densely yellow 
velutinous     
                                                                                
                                      9. A. nakaoi                              
                                  |
|   b.  |  
Uppermost sepal oblique, shortly beaked; carpels sparsely pubescent to glabrous 
                                                                                
                         6. A. heterophylloides  |
|  9a.  |  
Carpels glabrous                                                                
                         1. A. bisma
  |
|   b.  |  
Carpels pubescent                                                               
                                            10
  |
|  10a.  |  
Leaves from hypogynous base of stem                                             
        7. A. hookeri
  |
|    b.  |  
Leaves basal and cauline                                                        
                                       11
  |
|  11a.  |  
Bracteoles linear, entire; flowers dirty blue; petal head ca 6 mm long          
3. A. ferox
  |
|    b.  |  
Bracteoles broad, dentate; flowers deep blue; petal head ca 10 mm long   
 
                                                                                
                              12. A. spicatum 
  |

 
On Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 11:12 PM, chrischadwell261@btinternet. com 
<chrischadwell261@btinternet. com> wrote:

I can say with certainty that this is definitely not Aconitum heterophyllum  - 
a species not found in the E.Himalaya. I had delayed in sending an initial 
response in hope that some else would name it!
My knowledge of Eastern Himalayan flora is much less with relatively few plant 
explorations in the region.  I have not been into Sikkim proper.  
Aconitum is not an easy genus; I see there are a number of images of specimens 
of this genus photographed in Sikkim on efi site which have not be identified 
yet.  Another task awaiting to take a close look at all these!  Clearly there 
is no expert on the genus currently available?   There are quite a number of 
species to consider.  I could say it was similar to one or two species but need 
time to look into the E.Himalayan representatives further.  Some 20+ species 
recorded from Bhutan & Sikkim - though one can readily eliminate most of these.
Shall wait further just in case there is anyone out there who can come to our 
assistance?

On Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 6:05:01 PM UTC+1, tchakrab wrote:
Kindly look at the attachments.  This is fairly common there.Regards,Tapas.
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