An Updated Taxonomic Inventory of Flora of Srinagar City (Kashmir Himalaya) India, Using Herbarium Reconstruction Approach

  • Gousia Mehraj
  • Anzar A. KhurooEmail author
  • Insha Muzafar
  • Irfan Rashid
  • Akhtar H. Malik
Research Article


The historical collections in herbaria are increasingly used for documentation of biodiversity. The use of herbarium reconstruction in the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot, using a case study from Srinagar city in Kashmir Himalaya has been shown. During the present investigation, a comprehensive and updated biodiversity database of 937 plant taxa has been developed, which is based on expert investigation of ca. 45,000 plant specimens deposited in the herbarium of University of Kashmir, and careful supplementation of field records in the study area made over the last one decade. The results indicate a clear dominance of herbaceous growth form as 602 species were herbs. Majority of the plant species possess perennial life span, as 610 plant species fall under this category. Inspite of being a rapidly urbanising centre, Srinagar city owing to its location in the global biodiversity hotspot of Himalayas exhibits a clear dominance of wild-growing plant species. In the database, 20 species fall under different threat categories. The present study is the documentation of plant biodiversity of this eco-fragile mountainous region and clearly demonstrates the precious value of biological collections in bridging the knowledge gaps in global biodiversity hotspots, including Himalayas. Looking ahead, the biodiversity database can serve as a baseline in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and more importantly, the database can provide the reference framework in assessing and monitoring the impending impacts of land use and climate change on the biodiversity of this Himalayan city.


Biodiversity Flora Taxonomy Himalaya Sustainable use 



The authors are highly thankful to the Honorary Director, Centre for Biodiversity and Taxonomy (CBT) for providing necessary facilities during the course of present study. They greatly acknowledge the kind help rendered by the scholars and supporting staff of CBT, University of Kashmir and preparation of map by Muzafer A. Wani, Department of Geography, University of Kashmir. The insightful suggestions made by two anonymous reviewers which improved the quality of the manuscript are highly acknowledged.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors hereby declare that there is no conflict of interests in submitting this manuscript to the journal.

Supplementary material

40011_2017_840_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 Standard terminology for wild and cultivated status, growth form and life span categories. (DOCX 18 kb)
40011_2017_840_MOESM2_ESM.docx (138 kb)
Supplementary material 2 Database of flora of Srinagar arranged alphabetically by family name. (Taxa in the database include the accepted plant name, popular synonyms, English name, wild/cultivated status, growth form and life span. ABBREVATIONS USED: W- Wild, C-Cultivated, CW: Cultivated as well as wild, H-Herb, S-Shrub, T: Tree, G: Graminoid, Ss- Subshrub, V: Vine, A: Annual, B: Biennial, P: Perennial, Syn: Synonym) (DOCX 137 kb)
40011_2017_840_MOESM3_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 3 Plant species with unresolved names recorded from Srinagar and excluded from the database. (DOCX 18 kb)
40011_2017_840_MOESM4_ESM.docx (115 kb)
Supplementary material 4 Occurrence localities of the taxa listed in the checklist of flora of Srinagar, their Accession number (s) in the KASH herbarium and first year of report in Srinagar [NA=Not available] (DOCX 114 kb)
40011_2017_840_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (615 kb)
Supplementary material 5 Photographs of threatened plant species (pdf 615 kb)


  1. 1.
    New York Botanical Garden (2012) Index Herbariorum: a global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. Accessed 18 May 2015
  2. 2.
    Smith GF, Steenkamp Y, Klopper RR, Siebert SJ, Arnold TH (2003) The price of collecting life—overcoming the challenges involved in computerizing herbarium specimens. Nature 422:375–376CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    O’Connell AF, Gilbert AT, Hatfield JS (2004) Contribution of natural history collection data to biodiversity assessment in national parks. Conserv Biol 18:1254–1261Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Shaffer HB, Fisher RN, Davidson C (1998) The role of natural history collections in documenting species declines. Trends Ecol Evol 13:27–30CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lavoie C (2013) Biological collections in an ever changing world: Herbaria as tool for biogeographical and environmental studies. Perspect Plant Ecol Evol Syst 15:68–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zachos FE, Habel JC (2011) Biodiversity hotspots: distribution and protection of conservation priority areas. Springer, Berlin, pp 3–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Victor JE, Smith GF, Vanwyk AE (2015) A method for establishing taxonomic research priorities in a megadiverse country. Phytotaxa 203:55–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Paknia O, Rajaei H, Koch A (2015) Lack of well-maintained natural history collections and taxonomists in megadiverse developing countries hampers global biodiversity exploration. Organ Divers Evol 15:619–629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Murti SK, Chowdhery HJ (2000) Plant diversity and conservation in india- an overview. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra DunGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Singh H (2010) Handbook on herbaria in India and neighbouring countries. National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rao SK, Sringeswara AN, Kumar D, Pulla S, Sukumar R (2012) A digital herbarium for the flora of Karnataka. Curr Sci 102:1268–1271Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dar GH, Khuroo AA (2013) Floristic diversity in the Kashmir Himalaya: progress, problems and prospects. Sains Malays 42:1368–1377Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Khuroo AA, Weber E, Malik AH, Dar GH, Reshi ZA (2010) Taxonomic and biogeographic patterns in the native and alien woody flora of Kashmir Himalaya, India. Nordic J Bot 28:685–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Census of India 2011. Accessed March 12 2015
  15. 15.
    Srinagar Developmental Authority. Accessed April 23 2015
  16. 16.
    Amin A, Amin A, Singh SK (2007) Study of urban land use dynamics in srinagar city using geo-spatial approach. Bull Environ Sci Res 1:18–24Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    The Plant list. Accessed May 21 2015
  18. 18.
    GRIN-Germplasm Resources Information Network. Accessed June 3 2015
  19. 19.
    Catalogue of Life 2014. Accessed Dec 20 2014
  20. 20.
    Bentham G, Hooker JD (1862–1883) Genera plantarum ad exemplaria imprimis in herbariis kewensibus servata definita 3 vol. London (Gen.Pl.)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (2009) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Bot J Linn Soc 161:105–121. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x (accessed: 18-06-2015) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Flowers of India. Accessed March 19 2015
  23. 23.
    Flora of North America. Accessed May 9 2015
  24. 24.
    e-floras. Accessed July 5 2015
  25. 25.
    IUCN (2015) The IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2015-4. Downloaded on 19 Nov 2015
  26. 26.
    Nayar MP, Sastry ARK (ed) (1987, 1988, 1990) Red data book of Indian plants, 3 vols. BSI, HowrahGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Molur S, Walker S (ed) (1998) Report of the workshop “conservation, assessment and management plan for selected medicinal plants of northern, northeastern and central India” (BCPP- Endangered Species Project) Zoo Outreach Organisation, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, India, Coimbatore, India, p 62Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Rao CS, Suresh BL, Suresh G (2003) Red list of threatened vascular plant species in India. ENVIS, Botanical Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of IndiaGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Secretariat of the CBD (2012) Cities and biodiversity outlook. A global assessment of the links between action and policy: urbanization, biodiversity, and ecosystem services, Montreal, p 64Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Dar GH, Khuroo AA, Nasreen A (2012) Endemism in the angiosperm flora of Kashmir Valley, India: stocktaking. In: Mukherjee SK, Maiti GG (ed) Proceedings of international seminar on multidisciplinary approaches in angiosperm systematics, Kolkata, pp 502–519Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Walters SM (1970) The next twenty years. In: Perring F (ed) The flora of a changing Britain. Hampton, Classey, pp 136–141Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kühn I, Roland Brandl R, Klotz S (2004) The flora of German cities is naturally species rich. Evol Ecol Res 6:464–749Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Celesti-Grapow L, Capotorti G, Vico ED, Lattanzi E, Tilia A, Blasi C (2013) The vascular flora of Rome. Plant Biosyst 147:1059–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Khuroo AA, Rashid I, Reshi Z, Dar GH, Wafai BA (2007) The alien flora of Kashmir Himalaya. Biol Invasion 9:269–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Khuroo AA, Malik AH, Reshi ZA, Dar GH (2010) From ornamental to detrimental: plant invasion of Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. (Ox-eye Daisy) in Kashmir valley, India. Curr Sci 98:600–603Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Barthlott W, Biedinger N, Braun G, Feig F, Kier G, Mutke J (1999) Terminological and methodological aspects of the mapping and analysis of global biodiversity. Acta Bot Fenn 162:103–110Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kent M, Stevens RA, Zhang L (1999) Urban plant ecology patterns and processes: a case study of the flora of the City of Plymouth, Devon, UK. J Biogeogr 26:1281–1298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hobbs RJ (1989) The nature and effects of disturbance relative to invasions. In: Drake JA, Mooney HA, Castri F, Groves RH, Kruger FJ, Rejmánek M, Williamson M (eds) Biological invasions: a global perspective. Wiley, Chichester, pp 389–405Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Lake JC, Leishman MR (2004) Invasion success of exotic in natural ecosystems: the role of disturbance, plant attributes and freedom from herbivores. Biol Conserv 117:215–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Bradshaw WE, Zani PA, Holzapfel CM (2004) Adaptation to temperate climates. Evolution 58:1748–1762CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Seto KC, Guneralp B, Hutyra LR (2012) Global forecasts of urban expansion to 2030 and direct impacts on biodiversity and carbon pools. Proc Natl Acad Sci 109:16083–16088CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gousia Mehraj
    • 1
  • Anzar A. Khuroo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Insha Muzafar
    • 1
  • Irfan Rashid
    • 2
  • Akhtar H. Malik
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Biodiversity and TaxonomyUniversity of KashmirSrinagarIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of KashmirSrinagarIndia

Personalised recommendations