This is in reply to Shrikant sir's mail in other thread. I thought my
reply may hamper the ongoing Euphorbiaceae Juss. week so I am writing
When you say "non-botanist like me", I imagine where botanist like me
and many others in the group stand. You already have a great
experience and knowledge of wide range of plants from different parts
If you talk about a diverse family like, Euphorbiaceae, do you think
it is possible to prepare a key based on external characters? Though
it may be possible for smaller families.
If you and other members really wish then I am attaching one key,
which is based on a simple college botany practical book and I find it
very useful. Its totally based on Bentham and Hooker's classification.
Its up to the level of orders. For more details and current status of
families obviously we will have to look into APG III classifications.
I remember when I was writing my thesis, I provided two dichotomous
keys of which one was totally based on vegetative characters (dont
even need flowers, but may have to take out plant to see the
underground tubers or corms or roots, whatever is present) and second
was a mixture of vegetative as well as reproductive characters.
Secondly, our group has a biggest limitation of just sharing the pics.
A true taxonomists, always prefer a specimen over the picture of
specimen and then following appropriate protologues and types to
identify following correct nomenclature. Again and again I have
requested people (ateast those who have a degree in botany) to follow
ICBN codes and recommendations, but who really listens!! Few months
back, while checking the new website being designed by Garg sir and
Dinesh sir, I suggested a consistency in citing author names, but I
never got a reply from any. Just for example, I am Pankaj Kumar, and
if you wish to cite my name in as abbreviation in botany then it
should be 'Kumar' and not 'P.Kumar' because the latter name doesnt
stand for me but for someone else.
At times when I am free, I do try to provide original informations on
protologues and types, but I alone cant do it all the time as I have a
job, or they will kick me out of here if I neglect that. Wherever
needed I am ready to help, but people should let me know. Sitting here
in my room on my wheelchair with my Thinkpad, I have access to lot of
resources online and then I am in contact with lot of people who are
the top experts in the world, which more than 90% of the members in
the group lack. So if you need .................PLZ ASK. Yes, I dont
have all the resources, but atleast ask to know. At the same time,
there are other members who have lot of resources but they dont come
out to help!
Members keep posting without providing proper details, we keep
I have been providing references for free to members on my own, to
facilitate them to think more scientifically and I hope my effort
doesnt go in vain. There is limitation in the group for the size of te
file to be uploaded otherwise, I would have uploaded all references
here only, and of course it would have saved me a ot of money too
Few months back we (we at WII) prepared a report and recommended the
eflora of India in accordance with the available eflora of China etc.,
though our group share similar names, but we are in reality too far
from the sources and expertise which was used to write the eflora of
China or others. During recent times, I have observed people from BSI
joining in, and hence I assume, in future we may turn out to be more
scientific and contribute more scientifically and we may be able to
prepare such keys and exhaustive information on flora of India, but
currently we are FAR FAR behind.....but, I STILL AM HOPEFUL.
Just while writing this mail, I saw another mail of Dr. Gurcharan,
with keys of Euphorbia for E. antiquorum and its allied members and
the best thing is it is totally based on vegetative characters. Such
kind of efforts are needed not from one or two but from all, atleast
those who are botanically qualified.
Hope this will be taken in good spirits by the members of our valuable group.
"TAXONOMISTS GETTING EXTINCT AND SPECIES DATA DEFICIENT !!"
Pankaj Kumar Ph.D. (Orchidaceae)
Greater Kailash Sacred Landscape Project
Department of Habitat Ecology
Wildlife Institute of India
Post Box # 18
Dehradun - 248001, India