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Brahma Kamal blooms two month early, experts call for study

Early flowering of a number of high altitude species has worried experts, who stress on conducting a scientific study to find out the reasons behind the phenomenon

dehradun Updated: Jun 06, 2018 22:03 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Brahma Kamal is state flower of Uttarakhand.(Credit: GS Rawat)

Early flowering of a number of high altitude species has worried experts, who stress on conducting a scientific study to find out the reasons behind the phenomenon.

After Rhododendron, commonly known as Buransh, reported flowering in February-March last year--at least two months before the scheduled period of May to June--it’s the state flower Brahma Kamal that has reported early flowering this season.

A garden maintained by the police department near the Kedarnath shrine has already reported flowering of Brahma Kamal that has concerned experts. The flowering takes place between July and August.

“It’s difficult to establish the reasons behind this phenomenon unless there’s a scientific study to support the occurrence,” said GS Rawat, dean at the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India.

“Some studies have been conducted, but we need a holistic survey and analysis,” he said. He further said that reports of changes in flowering pattern of only known species are coming to light.

“But, there are many more species that are of ecological significant and might be facing similar issues.”

A study in 2014 on the impact of climate change on flowering of Rhododendron states, states that “such advancements most often attributed to corresponding increase in temperature.”

The study analysed the flowering period and patterns in 2009, 2010 and 2011 of the natural plants of Buransh, comparing it with the herbarium specimen collected from Dehradun-based Botanical Survey of India, Forest Research Institute and Lucknow-based National Botanical Research Institute.

“Increase in temperature could be a reason behind this phenomenon. We recorded 88-97 days shift in flowering period of Buransh. This also indicates similar impact on other high altitude plant species,” Ranbeer S Rawal at the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, said.

Residents too are worried. Surendra Negi, a resident of Bhimtal in Nainital said: “Villagers do believe that increase in temperature is the main reason behind early flowering of plants like Brahma Kamal.

“But, they can’t do anything much to safeguard the species.”

The state flower is excessively harvested as it is offered to the holy shrines of Badrinath, Kedarntah, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

Anup Sah, a Nainital-based environmental activist said, “Erratic rainfall and increase in temperature are the reasons behind the change.”

“But, experts should suggest ways of mitigating this phenomenon so that the actual flowering period of the species could be restored.”

Others said the flowering of the species affects movement of avian species as well.

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 22:03 IST