Red Data Book of Indian Plants -Volume I By Pallava Bagla

M.P. Nayar and A.R.K. Sastry Botanical Survey of India IRs 160

The usefulness of this much-needed book on plants of India crosses international frontiers. The format is taken from the IUCN Red Data books. The first volume lists 230 rare, vulnerable and endangered categories, encompassing 52 families of plants, both flowering and non-flowering, but mainly from among angiosperms. Most of the material for the book was provided by scientists from the Botanical Survey of India.
There is a wealth of information here. Each data sheet contains a description of the plant itself and its family, status, distribution, habitat and ecology, conservation measures taken or proposed, biology and potential value, cultivation and reference. Most species are illustrated by line-drawings and there are some colour plates. Nayar and Sastry list 78 Himalayan plants as requiring attention, of which 34 are from the Western Himalaya and 44 from the Eastern Himalaya. Forty-five varieties of orchids are identified for immediate conservation  measures.
Although the book arranges plant families and individual species alphabetically, only Latin names are used. Non-botanists will therefore be at a loss. The poor quality of some sketches will hinder field identification. Future volumes should include common and  vernacular  name´s  of species   and
have maps showing distribution. Algae, fungi and bryophytes should also be included, as should a few other plants that have been missed by this first volume.
Paiiava Bagla is a research associate at the Indian I nut it me of Pub lie-Administration  in Delhi.

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Himal Southasian