Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best images of 2011 posted by members of Efloraofindia

Aconitum heterophyllum
  This year while waiting for Cable car tickets at Gulmarg I strolled into the forest to find an interesting looking, though not very attractive plant, that I knew was Aconitum. Only after I sat to process my photographs and I identified it that I was impressed by great architecture of its dull looking flowers, and subsequently identified it as Aconitum heterophyllum Wall. ex Royle, the Atis Root plant and a very important medicinal plant.
      Roots yield a number of alkaloids such as atisine, heteratisine, histisine, heterophyllisine, heterophylline, heterophyllidine, atidine, hetidine, benzotheteratisine, F-dihydroatisine, and hetisinone. Plant is considered as valuable febrifuge and bitter tonic. Roots are also used for hysteria, throat infections, dyspepsia and vomiting, abdominal pain and diabetes.
It purifies blood and also acts as anti-inflammatory agent. It decreases fever and also cures malarial fever. 
Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Anemopsis californica

I am taking this liberty of uploading my second Flora Picture of 2011, a photograph I badly wanted to include in my book but could not because I had misplaced this folder of our our first outing in California to Shoreline Park. Today I found this while scanning though my external storage drives.

The plant,  Anemopsis californica (Nutt.) Hook. & Arn. of family Saururaceae, commonly known as Yerba mansa or apache-beads, the only species in the genus and endemic to California growing in coastal marshy areas, belonging to paleoherb complex, the early basal branch of angiosperms. Hickey & Taylor (1996) who proposed herbaceous origin hypothesis believe that flowers of Piperaceae (another paleoherb family) and Anemopsis arose through suppression of system of inflorescence axis of gnetopsids. In the above photograph the flower-like structure is in fact a fragrant spike inflorescence subtended at base by involucral bracts looking like petals. The small flowers number 75-150 on spike and each has white orbicular 4-6 mm long bract adnate to ovary, usually six stamens and 3 united carpels with parietal placentation and brown capsule fruit.  

The aromatic stoloniferous stock was once fashioned into cylindrical necklace by American Indiands and hence the name apache beads. more commonly known as Yerba (supposed to stand for herb in Spanish) mansa in medicine it was a reputed medicine for malaria and dysentry, as also treatment for swollen gums and soar throat. It also prevents build up of kidney stones. Dried roots can be used as dusting powder for for diaper rashes and other infected parts. Leaves are often used to make poultice to relieve muscle swelling and inflammation. 
Dr. Gurcharan Singh 

We were returning from a deep Sahyadri forest with a bag (card) full of images of some rare plants and had lost the track of time, thirst and hunger amidst the amazing plants. It was the noon of scorching summer and we realised that we did not carry any water. We had to trek for another 5 kms to reach the camp where we would get water and food. Looking at our dry faces the local guide asked us if we cared to have a glass full of cool fresh water. We pardoned him for his cruel joke since there was not a drop around. The guide dared our challenge, asked Navendu to be ready for a quick gulp and chopped a branch of a liana just above him. And there came a gush of clean cool fresh water from the cut branch that all of us tasted with content. It was not a life and death situation for us then but we were told that locals may use this source in such a situation. We were thrilled to see the spectacle but felt sorry for the lost limb of the liana. I request members not to ID or ask for the ID of this plant for its security.   

Shrikant Ingalhalikar

Ceropegia vincaefolia
 Name of the Species: Ceropegia vincaefolia

Common Name: Forest Flytrap (English), Kharchudi Kandil (Marathi)

Photographed on: 7th August, 2011

Location : Jummapatti, Matheran-Neral Route, Maharashtra.

Habitat: Hill slope, open forest.

Description: Termed as endemic (Western Ghats) and rare/threatened
plant of the region, we (Sushant & me) were not expecting to see it in
Matheran. Matheran although resembles most of Sahyadri (Western Ghats)
but is not literally connected to the main ridge and perhaps that is
the reason that we were not actually expecting this at the said
location. This record has inspired me, by and large, to prepare the
check-list of flora of this hill station. The documentation, field
work, is likely to start soon and would go on for couple of years.

Rajesh Sachdev

Couroupita guianensis

Last year in Jan 2011. I got a chance to attend NCC National Integration camp in Tirupati City (S V Arts College Campus), We visited many places there and captured lots of plants. During the visit of a local Lord Shiva Temple, I was asking cadets to come back soon and sit in the vehicle then a girl cadet of our group called me and asked the name of some flowers, people were carrying those to offer to lord Shiva. I was also stunned to see the beauty of flowers. then i asked to some pilgrims abut the tree from where they are getting those flowers, but language barrier!! I could not get anything. Then a local cadet said me Sir tree is there. I was mesmerized to see the tree and flowers. Flowers were at some height, still i was able to capture those flowers. I saw  Couroupita guianensis  there first time. Really this was the shot of the Tour for me there.

Dr. Balkar Singh

Adenoon indicum
In 2011, I made the long awaited "pilgrimage" along with my brother and cousin

But the dream almost became a nightmare... First, the Neeta Volvo that took us overnight from Mumbai to Satara was 2 hours late. Then, the driver dumped us on the highway instead of taking us to the Satara ST stand as advertised on the Neeta website. Then, we had to pay an auto driver 90 rupees just to take us the 3 or so kilometers to the stand. Then, we learnt that we had just missed the 6:45 am ST bus to Mahabaleshwar that would have taken us directly to the Kaas plateau and that the next bus was at 8 am, by which time the sunlight could get too bright to take good photos. Then, we asked a tourist taxi operator what he would charge for the round trip to Kaas, and he quoted an eye-popping Rs. 1200

Okay, now for the twist. Telling the taxi driving con artist we'd get back, the three of us started bargaining with some auto drivers near the bus stand. One of them finally agreed to take us first to Kaas, then to Thoseghar waterfalls, and then back to the ST stand in the afternoon, all for Rs. 1200. We grudgingly agreed to the fare and hopped in. On the way to Kaas, the hillside road was lined with beautiful flowers, including some light blue morning glories that I had never seen before. But since I wanted to reach Kaas by 7:30 am, which I had been told was the best time for flower photography on the plateau, I sacrificed the blue ipomoeas and probably many other rare morning flowers. But it was worth it, since the auto driver stopped on top of the Kaas plateau, which was only slowly filling up with tourists, at precisely 7:25 am
Ajay Ramakrishnan

Dillenia indica

Waited for two years to see it bloom, as I was always away when it bloomed.
Finally got a shot when it was cloudy, still waiting to get a good shot when its sunny.

Cistanche tubulosa

Here i am sharing the photograph of Cistanche tubulosa ( Family: Orobanchaceae) as
"Flora Picture of the year-2011".

This was photographed at Gorai (at the outskirts of Mumbai).
This was for the first time i met Dr Satish Phadke ji. He was in Mumbai and had a free day. He just contacted me and then myself, Satish ji and Dinesh decided to go on some Flower sighting trip. That day we had been to Vasai fort (@ outskirts of Mumbai) and then to Gorai. Gorai is very close to famous "Essel World". Apart from other plants, i was bit keen to see "Cistanche tubulosa" and fortunately Dinesh knew about this location. We all were fortunate enough to spot it. While we were photographing this plant, suddenly one Police patrolling jeep stopped near us and started questioning us. Seeing our cameras,they probably thought that we are some people from Press and are there to colllect some info/ or to report some thing. When we revelaed our identity, they told us that this place is bit notorious and informed us to be care full. Notorious for many reasons.....better not to comment, destruction of Mangrooves may be one of the reason.. ...

It is preferrable to visit this place in small group rather than going alone. This was a memorable trip and spotting of Cistanche tubulosa was icing on the cake......

Cycas Circinalis L.  adult with fruit
Cycas circinalis is endemic to South India, where it is restricted to the Western Ghats and hilly regions of the southern peninsula, in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and the south of Maharashtra (Hill 1995).
 B. Rathinasabapathy

Clerodendron viscosum

Attaching the image of Clerodendron viscosum (Verbanaceae)
Taken from Medical College Campus, Kozhikode in March 2011

Manudev Madhavan

Dendrobium mabelae
Flower hunting with Shrikant ji is always memorable.
We were wandering in the forests of Mahabaleshwar to find some Oberonia species as that was its flowering time.
Suddenly I spotted some white orchid flowers on a tree which was at a distance. This turned out to be Dendrobium mabelae which was first time for me though he had  photographed  it sometime back in 2007-08 with his old camera.
We had to struggle a lot to reach the tree with thick tall grass all around, some climbing and other adjustments to take good photographs. Some leeches and ticks bit us which was evident little later. But the new find made my day.

Dr. Satish Phadke
Maranta zebrina

I have this plant in 4 pots for many years and none ever flowered, in fact I thought it never flowers. Due to some plumbing work in my society in Jan 2011 which went on for quite sometime I had to unwillingly shift the pots of this plant to an area in my garden without any shade . One day in April I suddenly saw this woody looking whorled spike with 2 violet blue petal like flowers. It gave me immense joy as I never knew that this plant flowers and that too has such an unusual and beautiful wavy spike. It was a moment I will never forget. Gradually all the flowers bloomed in the spike.
Dr Bhagyashri Ranade

Angelonia angustifolia

While i was shooting this image from the river bank in ranpur, my team was desperately waiting for lunch. I forgot that completely as i saw this plant for the first time in my life and the flowers were so beautifully dancing due to cool breeze, i lost myself for the best ever close up of the flower. Finally when i returened to camp everyone has finished their lunch and it was around 4 pm. I took almost 2 hours to take around 50 snaps. i got heavly scolded by the team mets (as all are sociologist). Another important fact is that the ID of this species was confirmed only through EFLORAOFINDIA. So cheers for the group.

Prasad Dash

Ceropegia anantii

The last year I was wishful of getting to at least one Ceropegia ... that would be my first !
I would like to quote Satish (Phadke) ji's thought: Flower hunting with Shrikant ji is always memorable.

Me and Prashant have been along with Shrikant ji for a few times by now for exploring new plants away from our part of Western Ghats.
We have always returned rich.

My second trip with Shrikant ji fetched me my first Ceropegia !! ...  Ceropegia anantii
Many thanks to him.
Dinesh Valke

Saussurea gossypiphora
I am sharing the photograph of Saussurea hopefully Saussurea gossypiphora as my Flora of year 2011.
During the month of August 2011 I was in alpine regions of my area with my cousin for field study. We spent many nights in the natural caves and that was an unforgettable experiences. On 6th August 2011 we stayed in a cave at an altitude of 4800 meters asl and decided to spend the whole day of 7th August above the altitude of 5000 meters asl in order to collect the high altitude species of Saussurea, Rhodiola, Saxifraga etc. But unfortunately it started raining at 4 a.m. and we were unable to decide whether to go higher or come down. At last we waited till 12 p.m when the rain stopped and we went higher. At the higher altitude we found many beautiful plants among which this one was the most beautiful growing in the crevices rocks at a height of 5200 meters asl.   
Suresh Rana

Spiraea cantoniensis
'Spiraea cantoniensis' Photographed on the way to Pahalgam (Kashmir) on June 02, 2011 is my picture of the year 2011 
Narendra Joshi

My Flora Picture of the Year is this Rose I photographed at Srinagar during family visit in September, 2011.
It was the day before our departure from Srinagar.
There were heavy showers in the morning.
But when it stopped raining and we came out of the hotel for our day's sight seeing, I found this in the hotel garden.
Captured on my new camera Nikon D 90.
Aarti Khale

I don't know whether my post is suitable for this title or not but the intention behind this post is to spread awareness among eFlora members. I am sure Dr. Pankaj is going to be the most disheartened person to see this post. The picture was taken at Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh in which you can find some burnt orchids... ..a result of the 'Slash and Burn' Cultivation Practice (Jhum-Cultivation).
Despite intensive government efforts to control Jhum cultivation throughout the states of NE India, it is still prevalent in a vast area of the region. As a result, we are losing a number of rare, endemic and wild plant species day by day. I understand the socio-cultural and livelihood implications of the local inhabitants we can bring back those precious plants which are already burnt? I personally feel this practice as an unfortunate one. 

Do we need to review the policies? What do u feel?
Ritesh Kumar Choudhary

In Buddhism and many other religion including Hinduism there are
supposed to be Four Heavenly Kings in the sky (Chinese - Sì Da
Tiānwáng), often called as the four Guardians of the world. In
Sanskrit they are called, Vaiśravaṇa (Kubera, He who hears
everything), Virūḍhaka (Patron of Growth), Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Watcher of the
Lands) and Virūpākṣa (He who sees all). They are followed by Yakṣas,
Kumbhāṇḍas, Gandharvas and Nāgas respectively. In different countries
they have been depicted differently in particular colours and with
particular thing or objects in their hand. In general world they can
be depicted as North, South, East and West respectively.

The person in the shared picture here depicts the third Guardian or
the King of Skies, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, i.e., East and followed by Gandharvas
according to Buddhist and Hindu mythology. In China he is called, Chí
Guó Tiānwáng [持國天王]. He is known to carry a musical instrument,
usually a flute or a pipa (a Chinese musical instrument).

This is the Flora picture of the Year 2011 for me. To know why, please
check the PIPA! That's an Orchid, Cymbidium sp.

The picture was taken at just over 100 years old, Po Lin Buddhist
monastery, on Ngong Ping Plateau, Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

Pankaj Kumar

Swertia cordata

This is a Swertia species,
one of the four we have had during our trip to Chakrata (Uttrakhand),
during September, 2011. The picture is ordinary, but the story is
unforgettable for me.

 I have been fortunate to be a part of that marvelous "Flower Hunting
Trip" with such great enthusiasts and wonderful personalities. The
tour is unforgettable, packed with a huge collection of plants under
the expert guidance of Dr. Gurcharan Singh Ji, affection and care from
Mrs. Singh, extreme floristic and technical knowledge of Shrikant
Ingalhalikar Ji. The group enjoyed the company of Dr. Balkar Singh,
who is ever ready and ever prepared to go to any extent for his
unending desire of locating new specimens for the group.

And worth mention is...this was my first personal encounter with
Leeches..... Above all, this was the greatest Botanical excursion I
ever had been a part of. Thanks to all experts, MANY THANKS TO EFLORA
Nidhan Singh

Luisia macrantha
Neil Soares
Neil hasn't given a story so a compilation of comments are given below.
[Oh simply Superb! very very beautiful almost looks human. What an apt name and crystal clear photography.......Madhuri
Great picture, beautiful orchid........Dinesh
Those leaves are actually not complete so they don't give the actual
impression of the length of the leaf. In fact Kathakali dance is the representation of God and not Ghosts!!!
But when I came to know of the orchid's name for the first time in my
life, I was really amused, why they called it Kathakali orchid. In fact
it does have a very peculiar structure which I felt when I saw it live
By the way, the petals are of indefinite growth so they keep
elongating..... :)) now it sounds ghostly!!!
Superb amazing Catch!!!!!!   looks like ..... Ghost on tree......Balkar Singh
To me it looks like a lady walking on a tight rope.Beautifully shot!......Ritesh
Great capture Neil Sir.......Prasad
A real prize catch.Interesting looking orchid flower.......Gurcharan
Looks like a Balancing act being performed on a rope...Prashant
Lovely capture..........J.M.Garg
Unique......... usha di]
Neil Soares

This is my first ever SEM picture :) It was my dream....finally came true! It was a great experience to learn the techniques without a tutor (but now I am helping many...).
The picture shows glandular and non-glandular trichomes from leaf of Salvia divinorum, a psychoactive plant endemic to Mexico.
I recorded 5 types and 33 sub-types of trichomes (some of them are new reports), from a single leaf, thanks to SEM...
Vijayasankar Raman
Gnetum ula

On a botanical trip around the foot hills of Kodikanal (near Madurai, Tamilnadu) we came across the trunk of this huge liana. It looked like a large coiled serpent slowly climbing into the canopy perching the branches of other trees. Its huge trunk would have been at least a foot and a half in diameter. Judging by the size of other individuals in that area and general size of lianas, this one was amazing.  My guess is that, this liana-tree would be at least more than 200 years old. I was thrilled when I thought of how many human generations would it have seen since it germinated in that forest floor. How many important events in history would have been recorded while this plant was an infant and entered youth. And now she is still standing there healthy, proud, and as young as ever. I was so lucky to have I met this old wise liana. She is a Gnetum ula. 



Generally monsoon is a difficult place for photography here in Mulshi. I was bracing for a long period of inactivity,but only after a couple of days rain on a better day I ventured out early morning and I came across this beautiful flower which I had missed last year.That was a good omen and start for the new season, and surely many new varities I had missed last season.

 Satish Nikam

It was in the last December, I happened to see Knema attenuata was in full bloom in Vythiri, Waynad, Kerala. 
Knema attenuata belongs to the family Myristicaceae is a Western Ghat endemic tree species. This is one among the most dominant tree species in the Western Ghats. Distributed mostly in the western side of the Ghats. This shade loving tree species usually grows in the sub-canopy layer of evergreen forests.   

The flowers of this plant was a common sight during this time (December -February) whenever I go for field work. 
This time I was fortunate to look through and capture the small sized male flowers (the plant is dioecious; male and female flowers born on separate individuals) of Knema attenuata with a macro lens

I like the contrasting colors of androecium (stamens are conjoined here) and perianth. 
The tiny male flowers (female flowers are dull. I shall upload pictures later) are really a beauty and treat to the eyes.
Giby Kuriakose

After seeing a bunch of people posting some lovely photographs of plant for 2012
photo of the year I made up my mind at last to post a photograph. I am not at all
sure wether my picture is good enough to be posted for the occasion. I have literally
no skills is photography as many of our members do. I use very simple cameras to 
take photos. The plant which I am posting is unidentified. One fine evening I was
returing home from lab and I saw a bunch of white flowers over a bush in one of my 
neighbours house here in Vancouver.The flowers were about 0.5cm across. It had just 
stopped raining and the glistering drop of water on the flowers were sparkling like 
pearls. I wanted to capture the moment but alas I had only my Sony Cybershot point 
and shoot camera in my bag I took out the camera with fear that I won't be able to 
capture the moment with this machine in my hand. At last I took a bunch of photos one 
came out kind of good which I am sharing out here. I am not sure how the members will 
react but I apologize for it.

Tanay Bose
Senecio graciliflorus

Senecio graciliflorus or the 'Graceful Senecio' was captured on my way to Kedarnath Dham, Uttarakhand in September 2011. Althought the trek was tiring but beautiful flowers throughout the trek compelled me to move on and capture them in my camera. Whole trek of 14 km from Gaurikund to Kedarnath was very rewarding and colourful.
Dr. Amit Chauhan
Zeuxine longilabris

Sharing picture of Zeuxine longilabris  ..every flower is having spider so i thought it must be pollinator.These are crab spiders. They are ambush spiders who camouflage inside
the flower and when a pollinator or other insect comes, these spider
attack them.
Crab spiders belong to the family Thomisidae. They have broad flat bodies and sideways scuttling movements like crabs. They are ambush predators. The 2 rear pairs of legs anchor the spider firmly to the flower while the 2 front pairs of legs armed with bristles are used for grabbing the prey. 
Smita Raskar

Habenaria diphylla

Herewith i am sending a photograph for flora photo of the year.
Habenaria diphylla Dalz.
Characters :- 
Leaves two -  basal, raceme 2 to many flowered,flowers greenish white,RET species

Sachin Dangat 
Oxalis triangularis
 Finally thought i would post this photo of Oxalis triangularis that i clicked in my garden . I never thought these unassuming, soft petalled flowers would look so beautiful in the evening sunlight! i was really lucky that evening... Hope its not too bad

We were on a Sunday afternoon drive when my friends decided to stop and have some tea...  we drove into a village.. and parked under a kadam tree...   while they unpacked the picnic baskets and poured tea etc I was walking around and a local gentleman came out to see if what / who had invaded his property...  though there were no boundry indicators per se... we apologized, but he turned out to be friendly... and said he just wanted to talk, so over tea he told us what he grows etc and very proudly pointed at this flower on his Kadam tree... and he even told us its name... he had done some research it seems... Dendrobium pierardii.... I came home and looked it up...   books and the net images show more intense color...  than I got...  and the binomial he told seems to hold ... UNLESS PANKAJ thinks otherwise....

 I am very happy to have made a friend across from the Ganges and he has invited us back whenever the mood strikes us... 

Serendipity, you ask?  why?

because as we drove out of Calcutta we were hoping  to find something totally created by nature... not planted by forest dept, highway department or a gardener, nor chopped down or debilitated by humanity...
and what is more spontaneous than a beautiful orchid flowering on a beautiful tree with connection to Krishna... the playful one...

Usha di

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