|Androsace adenocephala on Galong La, Tibet|
|Androsace wardii on Baimashan Pass, Yunnan|
|Frank Kingdon Ward's book I am reading|
|Androsace tapete, SE Tibetan steppe|
|Androsace alchemilloides, Galong La, Tibet (closeup)|
|Androsace alchemilloides, Galong La, Tibet|
642 pages, thousands of pictures and plants...I did eventually find my androsace in this--but in the process realized that only a FRACTION of the androsaces occuring in Western China were contained here. Twenty two taxa are pictured (the pictures are mostly taken from a distance and not very useful for identification)--but both A. tapete AND A. alchemilloides are described in the text and shown in photographs.
A shot downloaded of the web of one of the many primula pages--to give Cribb and Wilson credit--they had a few more androsaces than the next book... Now let's take a look at a book we were able to buy in China at a fraction of the price it would have cost in the USA: the Wild Flowers of the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau is fantastic (as is the Cribb/Wilson volume). It's amazing how many plants each book has the other doesn't--you really need them both. I read and comprehend enough Chinese that the Chinese volume is very useful for me--but of course all the pictures have Latin tags, so it's pretty useful for anyone else too!
But the book that clinched the name of Androsace alchemilloides for me was THIS one: a true classic! Of course it helps that it was written by an amazing athletic explorer (George Smith) who actually saw and observed many of the androsaces of the book, and Duncan Lowe, who grew many of them--and was able to sketch them with art and accuracy. Although billed as a Garden monograph, the keys, descriptions and drawings nudge it quite a ways into the camp of science in my opinion. And it's THOROUGH, if not complete (I doubt many species slipped through their net)... Botanical monographs still rule the roost as far as I'm concerned.
I was very fortunate to have heard George Smith speak at an international conference many years ago, and I knew (and exchanged seed and even visited) Duncan Lowe. Duncan gifted his wonderful drawings for this book to the Scottish Rock Garden Club--and I have been lucky enough to buy several: including Androsace wardii! I wish now I'd gotten A. alchemilloides as well--maybe there's time. Last time I met Carole and Ian Bainbridge in Newfoundland, they still had quite a sheaf of these drawings they were hawking! I plan on attending the 2021 conference in Perth and shall make a beeline to my friends and see which drawings are left! I end with one of Duncan's wonderful drawings I snitched off the web (although I really should have scanned mine instead)...