Identification of Silene used in Tibetan Medicine

Submitted by Chadwell on

I am currently helping Dr Tsering Norbu, Director, Materia Medica (Medicinal Plants) Department of The Dalai Lama's Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute in Dharamsala, N.India with providing Scientific Identifications for hundreds of Himalayan species utilised in Tibetan Medicine. I would welcome any suggestions for the attractive Silene which he provided an image of growing in Spiti, a Tibetan borderland district of Himachal Pradesh (bordering the W.Himalaya) in N.India.

The late Dr Ralph Stewart (who lived to be 102) got his doctorate from Columbia University in 1916-17 on the 'Flora of Ladakh' (known as Little Tibet, which I amvisiting this fall). He worked as a Presbyterian Missionary, then Principal of Gordon College, Rawalpindi, Pakistan - in his spare time he explored for plants. Upon retirement he was Research Associate at Ann Arbor, MICH. Within his life's botanical work: AN ANNOTATATED CATALOGUE OF THE VASCULAR PLANTS OF W.PAKISTAN AND KASHMIR (running to 1028 pages) he stated (in 1972), "The Lychnis-Silene complex would be a suitable Ph.D. thesis for an ambitious student. The synonymy is difficult and too many names have been proposed..." Any budding experts out there?


Submitted by RickR on Wed, 07/20/2011 - 23:24

A fascinating species!  Is there a corona inside the calyx, or are there no petals at all?  It would seem the clearly bicolored inside would show through to the outside at least somewhat if petals are absent.  Obviously, no budding expert here. But always an interested party!