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Author Topic: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.  (Read 19646 times)

Stephenb

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2014, 06:39:40 PM »
Great pictures, Alan!!
I can add that despite its powerful bite, Girardinia diversifolia, is one of the most important wild vegetables in Nepal (ref. Plants and People of Nepal by Manandhar, an impressive ethnobotanical work), one of 4 leafy greens singled out in the book's introduction. In the species account it states " Young leaves and inflorescences are cooked as a green vegetable. Roasted seeds are pickled."
Nettles are collected in Nepal with the help of bamboo or iron pincers...
Have for a long time wanted to try this in my edible garden, along with New Zealand's "Death Nettle", Urtica ferox, which I do have ;) .....but I've never seen seeds.
I mention this species in my book to be published in about 3 weeks in the UK in the section on vegetables from the Himalaya: http://permanentpublications.co.uk/port/around-the-world-in-80-plants-an-edible-perennial-vegetable-adventure-for-temperate-climates-by-stephen-barstow/
Stephen
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Maggi Young

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2014, 10:25:11 PM »
Wow, great to hear about the imminent arrival of your book, Stephen - that bears repeating !

....... in my book to be published in about 3 weeks in the UK in the section on vegetables from the Himalaya: http://permanentpublications.co.uk/port/around-the-world-in-80-plants-an-edible-perennial-vegetable-adventure-for-temperate-climates-by-stephen-barstow/    8) 8)

The cover of Stephen's book:
 
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 10:33:06 PM by Maggi Young »
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alanelliott

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2014, 01:15:07 PM »
Great pictures, Alan!!
I can add that despite its powerful bite, Girardinia diversifolia, is one of the most important wild vegetables in Nepal (ref. Plants and People of Nepal by Manandhar, an impressive ethnobotanical work), one of 4 leafy greens singled out in the book's introduction. In the species account it states " Young leaves and inflorescences are cooked as a green vegetable. Roasted seeds are pickled."
Nettles are collected in Nepal with the help of bamboo or iron pincers...

Nice One. Yeah I have used Manandhar's book on a number of occassions it is a fantastic publication.
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alanelliott

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2014, 01:33:23 PM »
We had an enforced rest day at Phalgune to let Colin recover before we went over the pass. It turned out to be a blessing because it allowed us to catch up on data entry and specimen drying.


The glamour of camp life.

We botanised around camp collecting a good number of interesting species.

Silene helleboriflora being my favourite of the site because it was hard won! Initially going up a steep gully and failing, then going up the trail and then down the gully ridge to get at it and failing and eventually going up a parallel gully and then contouring round.


Silene helleboriflora insitu


Me doing my Indiana Jones plant collecting of the Silene.

With the stress of the previous day I had not collected the Meconopsis paniculata in favour of getting to camp with Colin and daylight running out. But I went back down the trail with Dawa Sherpa to collect some specimens.


The great Meconopsis paniculata massacre of 2014

Patrick had a productive day collecting on the slopes and gullies around camp. Collecting a number of Juncus species, Neottianthe calcicola, Pedicularis pennelliana and P. mollis. P. anserantha


Neottianthe calcicola
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art600

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2014, 02:52:19 PM »
Alan

Wonderful diary and some amazing plants.  Keep it coming please.
Arthur Nicholls

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2014, 09:16:50 AM »
The day started with heading up to Phalgune Dhuri which on the map was a mere 3900m, but once at the pass our GPS’ were telling us different 4100m! You do not need that first thing in the morning.  The pass was heavily grazed but there were still a good number of flowering herbs in the short turf. Pedicularis hoffmeisterii and P. klotzschii subsp. lutescens and Pedicularis hookeriana. Cyananthus lobatus and C. microphyllus. Bistorta vivipara, Cremanthodium arnicoides.


Flowering sub-alpine turf at 4100m

It almost felt like a scene from the Alps with cattle lazing about, bells chiming away, the Leontopodium growing around us in the turf and having a happy man of the Alps with us!


Patrick giving us a lecture in Pedicularis morphology

Most of the rest of the day was spent walking across sub-alpine meadows and grassland before we dropped back initially into the forest of Betula and Rhododendron which changed to Abies forest. Despite generally losing altitude it did feel like a lot of up and down.


Cremanthodium arnicoides

Coming down through a particularly steep section of the Abies forest we start hearing whooping and yeee-hawing from Patrick. When we eventually caught up with him he was verging on ecstatic. He’d found some epiphytic Pedicularis scullyana growing alongside ferns and orchids on Abies. This was one of his taxonomic mysteries that he had hoped to answer and now had.


Epiphytic Pedicularis scullyana growing on Abies

We could see the camp looking down through the Abies near the small village of Thankur which was in a beautiful valley surrounded by steep sided slopes covered in Abies forest and with the wooden shingled farmsteads, small fields and grazing horses; it felt more like a scene from the Rockies than the Himalaya.


Thankur and our camp at about 3100m
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 10:14:00 AM by alanelliott »
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alanelliott

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2014, 01:24:46 PM »
Next morning we continued through the Abies forest descending nearly 500m to the Ghasdung Khola. The dense forest was predominantly Abies grandis but there were also Acer, Sorbus and Pinus wallichiana. On our way down to the river we collected, a few species of Ribes and Rubus (we ate about as much as we collected). There were also plants like Triosteum himalayanum, Rosa serica in fruit, Ligularia fischeri, Allium wallichiana and even Leycesteria formosa - that is relatively common in UK cultivation and odd to see in the forests of Rukum


Triosteum himalayanum

As soon as we crossed the Ghasdung Khola Colin spotted a Clematis and I was quickly able to tell him whatever it was it was new from Nepal (very likely to be new taxa).  The forest changed immediately and dramatically once we had gained a little altitude. This south facing slope was hot and dry and was predominantly Quecus semecarpifolia with its acorns and dry brown leaves scattered  across the trail.


Quercus semecarpifolia forest

The rest of the afternoon was a hot slog of a walk up through the open Quercus forest to Kayam at 3100m, collecting a number of plants that we hadn’t seen in the cool damp north facing Abies forest: Pedicularis bifida, Satyrium nepalense, and Phlomis setigera.




Two colour variants of Pedicularis bifida

The view of the ridge at Kayam was more how I picture the Himalaya; the steep southwest facing slope dropping 700m back down to the Ghasdung Khola and the gentle sloping pasture on the northeast slope surrounded by forest.


Kayam at 3152m and our camp in the distance.
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alanelliott

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2014, 12:54:28 PM »
The day started walking along the ridge through the autumnal feeling Quercus forest. On reaching then end of the ridge we began to drop steadily down through pasture and patches of remnant Pinus wallichiana forest and then fields of Maize until we reached Pelma. On the edges of the remnant forest and on field boundaries we collected a number of plants like Clematis buchanania and Clematis connata growing side by side, which I always find odd that such closely related species can co-habit the same niche and in this case physical space without hybridising or one out-competing the other.   


Potentilla atrosanguinea growing around farmhouses outside Pelma.

We dropped down further to the Pani Dal Khola through dense bamboo forest. We crossed the river over a well-rotted bridge surrounded by huge cliffs. The cook staff that I was with signed themselves then ran across the bridge.


The rotten bridge

There was then a steep walk up a gully to regain the altitude we’d lost to cross the river. The gully had an interesting flora untouched by the burning that is probably because it’s too damp for the fire to take hold. Once we had regained some of the altitude we contoured round the hillside above the Pani Dal Khola where the most attractive find was Spathoglottis ixioides


Spathoglottis ixioides

We walked mostly through grassy slopes but as we gained some altitude we headed back into forest for a while. This section of the trial was atrocious, bits where the path had fallen away and a section of a huge landslide with entire sections of the path just gone. 


Large landslide near before the Him

We walked on through the village of Him and eventually reaching the School at Guibang and our campsite for the evening.


Guibang School in the morning.


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Stephenb

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2014, 07:49:54 PM »
That Silene is wonderful even if it hadn't been difficult :)

I was interested to see you mention Ligularia fischeri as I bought seed of this with the help of a Korean friend in a Korean vegetable catalogue (see picture) in 2012, an important perennial vegetable in that country and my first Ligularia meal was this spring and excellent it was too....it didn't make it to my book as I discovered it too late, but it would have done  if I'd known, also fast growing from seed and yielding well.....

I see in Flora of China that it has a wide range although there is some disagreement on whether L. splendens should be separated out: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200024220   

I've just noticed that it is in Manandhar as a leafy vegetable....didn't think to look in there as Nepal is far from where I thought it's wild range was, so thanksto drawing my attention to it :) Yes, it's one of the best ethnobotanical books I've come across!!
Stephen
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alanelliott

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2014, 08:01:21 AM »
It was supposed to be a short walk from Guibang up to the head of the valley about 400m above to reach Duli, where we’d have a rest day and catch up on drying plants and data entry. However on reaching the village we found a debate raging amongst our trek staff over the merits of moving on and not staying. It turned out that the major contentious issues were animal dung in the water supply and the village house of ‘ill repute’. We didn’t stay.

We did however collect Rheum acuminatum which covered and large boulder scree. There were also hundred if not thousands of stalks drying in on the rafters of the houses in Duli.


Rheum acuminatum


Rheum drying

As we were not meant to be walking particularly far we didn’t have food for a day’s walking so we stopped with the cook staff a recently vacated camp in the forest. The fires were still smouldering so we got them going again and had a pleasant couple of hours sitting on the ridge just waiting for lunch of Dal Bhatt and curry. As we were on a ridge the forest when looking NW was Betula and Rhododendon and looking SE the Forest was Tsuga and Picea within 10m of each other.

There was an amazing colony of Primula reidii on a wet mossy rock face.



The rest of the afternoon was spent walking along the ridge through Betula forest. We collected Codonopsis grey-wilsonii. The monsoon hit like clockwork about 2pm when the ridge was engulfed in cloud.  The trail continued along open slopes until we came to two drystone pillars where we began to drop down again. The area around the pillars was very heavily grazed and there was nothing to see as the vegetation was Rumex nepalensis and Impatiens glandulifera.



From here it was downhill, through degraded pasture until we met the Sen Khola and our camp on the banks. It had been another long day. 


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Maggi Young

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2014, 10:27:07 AM »
What are the dried Rheum stems used for, Alan?  ( I may have missed you telling us this before- if so, SORRY!  :-[ )

Was it not very irresponsible for  the previous occupants of that camp to leave fires smouldering?
I know it gets very wet there, but an unattended fire can be disastrous anywhere, in my view.  :-\
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alanelliott

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2014, 12:49:11 PM »
What are the dried Rheum stems used for, Alan?  ( I may have missed you telling us this before- if so, SORRY!  :-[ )

Was it not very irresponsible for  the previous occupants of that camp to leave fires smouldering?
I know it gets very wet there, but an unattended fire can be disastrous anywhere, in my view.  :-\


I assume the same reason we have Rhubarb? Crumble!!! but definitely for eating.

That forest was absoluely sopping. There was no chance of fire taking hold at that time of year.
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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2014, 02:43:48 PM »
I assume the same reason we have Rhubarb? Crumble!!! but definitely for eating.

That forest was absoluely sopping. There was no chance of fire taking hold at that time of year.

Of course! I must be daft - it's just that we always have it fresh  picked. I was thrown by the mass picking/drying.  When I think of all the other fruits that dry so well it really shouldn't be a surprise!

 I did wonder if it might be the case that the monsoon would have rendered the place wet enough to be safe....... :-[
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ArnoldT

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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2014, 03:00:43 PM »
Wikipedia:

The root is often 1–2 m (3–7 feet) long and as thick as an arm, and bright yellow inside. The stems are pleasantly acidic, and they are consumed by the local people, who call the plant Chuka. The hollow of the stem contains a good deal of limpid water. After flowering, the stem lengthens and the bracts separate one from another, turning a coarse red-brown. As the fruit ripens, the bracts fall away, leaving a ragged-looking stem covered with panicles of deep brown pendulous fruits. As Hooker put their appearance: "In the winter, these naked black stems, projecting from the beetling cliffs, or towering above the snow, are in dismal keeping with the surrounding desolation of that season.".
Arnold Trachtenberg
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Re: Flora of Nepal expedition 2014- Baglung, Rukum, Dolpa.
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2014, 03:30:05 PM »
Of course! I must be daft - it's just that we always have it fresh  picked. I was thrown by the mass picking/drying.  When I think of all the other fruits that dry so well it really shouldn't be a surprise!


Manandhar's plants and people of Nepal have a couple of species listed as eaten for food. R. acuminatum and R. australe is down as pickled before eating where as R. nobile can be eaten fresh. R. australe and R. nobile also down as having medicinal uses like smoking dried leaves to relieve sinus problems. Each to their own.
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