Ladakhi Botanists Release Field Guide to Plants of Ladakh

First published on July 14, 2021

An exquisite new field guide published by Nature Conservation Foundation – India spotlights the rugged flora of Ladakh. Researched and written by Phuntsog Dolma and Dr. Konchok Dorjey, the book is a valuable addition to India’s natural history documentation.

Growing up on stories about local biodiversity told by her grandparents, Phuntsog Dolma developed a keen interest in studying the plant diversity of her homeland. As an adult, her work with the Sheep Husbandry Department has allowed Phuntsog to explore and observe the faunal diversity of the region. Her co-author Dr. Konchok Dorjey is an Assistant Professor of Botany at EJM College, Leh, and is a recipient of the prestigious Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Scientific Excellence Award 2020 for his contribution in the field of ethnobotany and mycology.

Over the past four years, Dr. Dorjey and Phuntsog have trekked across the region to collect, identify, and document plant species.The recently published field guide "Plants of Ladakh - A Photographic Guide", is a result of these efforts. The book includes nomenclature, botanical features, indigenous uses and excellent photographs of 193 species of plants found in this high-altitude, arid landscape. 

"The importance and legacy of these indigenous plants cannot be overstated, but geographical and climatic changes as well as the loss of traditional values and methods have pushed many of these species to the verge of extinction. I found it important to merge the modern way of conservation through research and the traditional knowledge available amongst the locals in the region. This book is an effort to bring these two together." says Phuntsog.

She recently also elucidated upon the biodiversity and conservation challenges in the landscape in the article Arid Zone Flora  published in Sanctuary Asia magazine, and receives support for her work from Sanctuary’s Mud on Boots Project.

Scientist and Founder Trustee of the Nature Conservation Foundation – India, Dr. Charudutta Mishra writes, "Photographic field guides, like the one by Konchok and Phuntsog, make identifying species in the field a real pleasure. Each identification comes with the joy of a new discovery. I would encourage any traveler to Ladakh to make space for this book in their daypack. Konchok and Phuntsog provide a glimpse into the lives of 193 species of plants found in Ladakh. They have covered most of the species one would encounter while traveling across this beautiful mountainous region."