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Journal American Rhododendron Society

Current Editor:
Dr. Glen Jamieson ars.editor@gmail.com


Volume 8, Number 4
October 1954

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Another Kingdon-Ward Expedition

        A recent letter from Mr. Kingdon-Ward contains details of a new expedition which he proposes undertaking in 1954-55. Full details are given in the letter, as quoted, in part, below. It will be noted that a minimum contribution of £100 is required. It is suggested that members may take a proportion of the seeds received, or in the case of smaller subscriptions, receive young plants in proportion to the subscription.

Saramati Expedition, 1954-55

        "My wife and I have just returned from a year's plant hunting in the mountains of North Burma near the sources of the Irrawaddy. The expedition was completely successful. We brought back seed of about 160 species (nearly 40 of them rhododendrons), and a herbarium collection of 1200 species-many of them new. Among the more remarkable discoveries in this hitherto unexplored region were: an epiphytic lily, hardy Nomocharis, Notholirion (or possibly a new genus of Liliaceae), two rare Conifers, Primula, Androsace, alpine ground orchids, Begonia, Clematis, and many fine Rosaceae and Ericaceae, including a new rose and six or eight new rhododendrons.
        Local conditions being at present favourable, it is our intention to return to Burma in September, 1954, in order to explore Saramati. Situated west of the Chindwin valley, in the Naga Hills on the Assam/Burma frontier, Saramati is an outstanding isolated peak of 12,600 ft. covered with snow for four or five months of the year. It has never been explored, and is believed to possess many endemic species. I have had some air photographs taken of Saramati. These show the top of the mountain to be covered with dwarf scrub (including rhododendron), and the lower slopes with cool temperate forest in great variety.
        We have been fortunate in receiving much reliable information from the regional Commissioner, who has only just returned from a tour in that area. He reports it free of headhunters, local supplies available, and the Naga tribes cooperative.
        It is proposed that we reach a base camp on Saramati in October, and spend the next six or eight weeks collecting seed before the first big snowfalls cover the alpine plants and drive us down to the temperate forest, where seed ripens later than in the alpine region.
        Our contacts in Burma are excellent, and we can expect every cooperation from the Union Government and from the Forest Department. At the same time, it must be borne in mind that the political situation in Asia is precarious, and unlikely to improve in the near future. It is obvious, therefore, that our present advantages should be exploited without delay.
        It is reliably estimated that expenses will not be far short of £3000. To cover this sutra, garden lovers are invited to take up shares in the expedition to any amount, in return for a proportionate share of all seed collected. It is much regretted that, owing to the great labour of distribution among many subscribers, and considerable expense involved, individual subscriptions of less than £100 cannot be accepted. . . ."

(Sgd.)
F. KINGDON-WARD
J. KINGDON-WARD


Volume 8, Number 4
October 1954

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