There was little time to prepare for our trip to the Himalayas. I worried about whether I should pack Pradip Krishen’s field guide to the trees of Delhi, but then decided against it; after all most of this book dealt with trees of the plains. There are excellent guides to the birds of India, one for butterflies, ancient ones for other animal orders, and certainly nothing for the trees of the Himalayas. One of the few useful resources I came across was an excellent blog post on the trees of Shimla.
The quick field guide which I made for myself can be useful on future trips. There is such an incredible variety of trees across the Himalayas that anyone could spend a lifetime studying them. The little part which is captured in this small list served me as landmarks to orient myself by.
|conifer, 40-50 meters tall, 10 meters girth, generally grows on northern slopes|
|conifer, 40-55 meters tall, 3 meters girth, higher branches are upward pointing, really long needles, generally grows on northern slopes|
|40-60 meters tall, 7 meters girth, gray-brown furrowed bark, overall conical shape with level branches, needles have a white streak on the underside, dark purple erect cones, generally grows on northern slopes|
|heavy cone, 40-50 meters tall, 6 meters girth, rough bark, needles are arranged in bundles of three, prefers southern slopes|
|long cone, 30-50 meters tall, needles are arranged in bundles of five, bluish in colour, generally grows on northern slopes|
Himalayan white oak
Western and central Himalayas
|15-25 meters tall, twisted gnarled trunk, rounded canopy, underside of leaves is white and hairy, acorns edible|
(also Quercus dilatata)
Himalayan green oak
|25-30 meters tall, 6-9 meters girth, straight trunk with dark reddish brown bark, leaves 4-6 cms long and green on both sides|
Himalayan brown oak
|25-30 meters tall, 4.5 meters girth, straight trunk with domed crown, dark grey bark broken into small plates, 2.5-10 cm long leaves, with brown underside|
also Japanese oak
|widespread||15-20 meters tall, straight trunk with domed crown, dark brown furrowed bark, leaves purple red when new, powdery blue-green underside when older|
|shrubs and small trees, glossy leaves, sometimes with a scaly underside, bright flowers|
This is truly amazing. I had no idea about the names, all I knew was Pines and Oaks. Next time, maybe I will take a snapshot of your quick reckoner with me.
Thank you. Happy that it will help.
Wow, what great variety.
Yes, indeed. And these are only the ones I got to know.
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