Common Indian Wild Flowers
Readers of Hornbill, the BNHS' magazine will be familiar with Isaac Kehimkar’s regular feature on Indian wild flowers. Beautiful and wild – flowers of a myriad hues are found along roadsides, in backyards, in our forests and countryside.
Usually noticed, admired and then forgotten, these wildflowers have not been documented or illustrated so much in detail. The author attempts to bridge this gap in Common Indian Wild Flowers - a non-specialist guide that will especially help the amateur flower-watcher.
This fieldguide describes 240 of the common and interesting wildflowers in the Indian peninsula, giving brief descriptions for each of them. The book begins with an introduction to flowering plants, the Indian subcontinent’s climatic influences, topography, vegetation and biogeographic areas. Tips for watching wild flowers, photographing them and gardening are provided. Herbs, shrubs, climbers, some small trees have all been covered. Common names in both English and vernacular languages are provided. Wild flowers, the author informs us, are mostly native to the Indian subcontinent although some exotics that have been successfully naturalised have also been included in the book.
Himalayan wild flowers have been purposely omitted in the book, keeping in mind that a number of books on those are already available. The rareness of some of these wildflowers and the need to conserve and protect these has also been highlighted. "While on botanical excursions, students in their misguided enthusiasm collect bagfulls of plant specimens. A majority of the material, collected in plastic bags, ends up as a soggy mass unfit for identification. Such wasteful activity needs to be regulated or even curbed. Often, batches after batches of students come to collect certain plant groups that are not common.
This has already resulted in the disappearance of several plant populations. More than students, it is the teaching fraternity that needs to be reoriented in such practices. Backed by vigorous conservation awareness programmes, students should be encouraged: Not to pick! Not to uproot!". The book is well supported by a number of attractive colour photographs of wildflowers in their natural surroundings. A list of references has also been provided at the end.
By Isaac Kehimkar, Published by: BNHS and Oxford University Press, Hardcover; Price: Rs. 375/-