I recently added a book to my library: Flora of the Southern Western Ghats and Palnis: A Field Guide by Pippa Mukherjee, Niyogi Books.
The two books on Indian wild flowers that I have aren’t very satisfactory, in that there is insufficient coverage of South Indian flowers. So this book is a very welcome addition to my library. The Palani hills of the title are a good 400 km south of us, and also much higher. But a lot of the flora is common.
So far, I’ve just been dipping in. Though the descriptions could have been more detailed (the gold standard, according to me, being Pradeep Kishen’s Jungle Trees of Central India: A Field Guide for Tree Spotters, see Farming library), the photographs are excellent and very accurate. This book has already helped me identify two beautiful wild flowers to be found around our farm.
The glory lily (Gloriosa Superba) is the state flower of Tamilnadu and also the national flower of Zimbabwe. Who knew?
And this is the lovely blue fountain bush (Clerodendrum serratum or Rotheca serrata). The flowers are the same blue as hydrangea, though they are not related. I’ve collected a bunch of seeds (the flowering season is just ending) on our rambles, and hope to grow some on our land.
Collecting wildflower seeds brings to mind the adventures of the Victorian plant hunters. So many fascinating accounts of these, I wish someone would compile them. Here’s an interesting article. And here’s how their work could help figure out the pace of climate change.