Sunday, 20 December 2020

Shindal Makudi - an odd stapeliad

Shindal Makudi is the local Marathi name of an unusual little succulent found wild only in the state of Maharashtra in western India. It is one of the stapeliad group of flowering plants. Stapeliads are a part of a larger group called asclepiads.

The stapeliads are mainly stem-succulents with leaves that are reduced to tiny scales, completely absent or converted into thorns. They have adapted to hot, dry areas and would lose too much water through large leaves. As you can see from these pictures, Shindal Makudi is unique among the stapeliads in having full, large succulent leaves, though only during the very wet monsoon season.

This article is mainly about the social history of the plant. The stories of the locals, plant hunters and growers fascinate me. There will be some of the science as well, of course. However, if you want to dive more deeply into the ecology⁹⁹ ¹⁰⁰, botanical description,⁴⁰ Crassulacean Acid Metabolism⁴⁶ and taxonomy,⁵⁶ I would recommend looking at the articles linked in the References section. 

Obviously, this has been a bad year for finding people in their offices and I haven't been able to pop down to my local University library. So, a few things remain as mysteries for now.

(on a separate page)

Part One

Names in Maharashtra

I can't find any translation of the Marathi name  शिंदळ माकडी Shindal Makudi²⁶ together with descriptions of the plant. However, it appears to mean "unchaste monkey". Though, as another translation of shindal has "whorish", I am tempted to interpret that as "slutty monkey". The first report in English of that name seems to have been in 1898.⁵¹ Other versions of the name are Makadshingi¹⁰⁶ (meaning "monkey horn") and Sindhad Makad (? Indus monkey ?).¹⁰⁵ Sushant More⁶² informed me recently that the name should be Shindal Makadi.

Caralluma adscendens is a much more common and widespread Indian stapeliad than Frerea indica. Like with Frerea, the stems are used as a vegetable and medicine, very popular with people across its range. Caralluma adscendens has many common names in many Indian languages. In Maharashtra state, some of the Marathi names for Caralluma adscendens are the same names as those given to Frerea indica: Shindalmakadi⁷⁹ and Makad Shing²⁶ (slutty monkey and monkey horn).

In Purandhar they call Frerea Potdukhi.¹¹ This word is not translated in that report. However, it does appear to be a common transliteration of the Marathi word पोटदुखी, given as pōṭadukhī on Google Translate and meaning "stomach-ache". I am not sure if it is supposed to cure it or cause it. Some of the Caralluma species, which are closely related, are used to cure stomach-ache.

A group of botanical Non-Governmental Organisations recently announced²⁹ a new Marathi name for the plant, "to commemorate the Maratha King as well as bring about a standardisation of the local vernacular names of a plant species". Siva Suman appears to be the "Flower of Shiva"  but actually commemorates Emperor Shivaji Bhosale I, the founder of the Maratha Empire. Shivaji lived from 1630 to 1680. The future Emperor was born at Shivneri Fort, a hill-fort one mile from Junnar, in Pune District. Shivneri Fort was the first location at which Shindal Makudi was found by European botanists. The intense reverence held by some Hindus for Emperor Shivaji has led to some animosity towards some historians who may have fallen short of hagiography.
Emperor Shivaji Bhosale I, statue at Pratapgad Hill Fort.
Photographer Suyogaerospace, 18 November 2008. 
From Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Botanical names

The plant was found by a European botanist for the first time in the last week of August 1863 and given the botanical name Frerea indica. The Scottish botanist Nicol Dalzell found it at Shivneri Hill Fort at 3,000 feet altitude (~915 metres).

Dalzell was obviously impressed by the flower, writing: "The whole central part is like a little gem—a pearl set round with small rubies."

Dalzell's description and name were published in 1865.²¹ There have been several attempted changes of the botanical name. Some of the leading authorities on this family of plants have recently studied the genetic relatedness of this section of the stapeliads. They decided that the name should now be Boucerosia frerei and this has been widely accepted by botanists.⁵⁶ ⁷³ Most growers still call it Frerea indica.

I will be using Frerea indica through most of this article as it is shorter, easier and was mostly the accepted name at the various times that I am describing.  This story is confusing enough in parts without changing from one name to another. I do like the new name, though.

The botanical name was dedicated²¹ by Dalzell to Henry Bartle Edward Frere, who was, at the time, the British colonial Governor of Bombay "not only as a mark of esteem and respect, but also because he always has been the enlightened encourager and promoter of scientific researches in India, and is himself a close observer of nature." While his time in India seemed relatively benign or even positive for a colonial overseer, Frere went on to make a mess in South Africa.

The surname Frere is pronounced to rhyme with beer or deer. Definitely not like prayer or the French word frère. So Frerea should perhaps be pronounced as though it were Freer-uh. I think that Boucerosia frerei should be Boo-kuh-rosie-uh freer-eye, to rhyme with the popular American TV series Queer Eye.

It is easy to see why those living in an India that had been independent for 75 years might want to give a local hero some connection to such a striking little plant. Particularly when it still bears the name of a colonial administrator of the British Empire from 155 years ago. 

Unfortunately, the rules of botanical naming have not allowed the removal of references to Frere, even if botanists now wanted to do so. 

In 1958, Gordon Rowley decided that Frerea indica was a member of the genus CarallumaFrerea indica could not become Caralluma indica because there was already a plant that had been called Caralluma indica since 1892. That plant, also a sought-after vegetable in India, had originally been called Hutchinia indica in 1834. Like most members of the stapeliad group, it had been placed in several different genera over the years. The botanist had to coin a new specific name and so Frerea was called Caralluma frerei.³⁴

At that point it could have been named after its discoverer, Nicol Dalzell. Except that there was already a plant found in western Africa called Caralluma dalzielii, named after its discoverer John McEwan Dalziel. Some botanists might insist that the extra i and missing l was sufficiently distinctive. Others have mercy on future botanical students and succulent enthusiasts.

When Frerea indica was transferred⁵⁶ to the genus Boucerosia in 2002 it could not be called Boucerosia indica as Caralluma indica had been moved into the genus Boucerosia and given the name Boucerosia indica in 1995. 

So, in 2002 Frerea indica had to retain the second-oldest specific name it had been given and became Boucerosia frerei. Nicol Dalzell had recognised that Frerea was closely related to Boucerosia. He noted, in the first description of the plant published in 1865, that:
In the structure of its flower it comes nearest to Boucerosia, but differs in its perfectly rotate corolla, while in habit and appearance it is far removed from Stapelia, Boucerosia and Caralluma.
The genus Caralluma had been given its name from the Telugu name for the edible and medicinal Caralluma adscendens. William Roxburgh had first reported the name Car-allum from the eastern parts of southern India in 1795. He named it Stapelia adscendens. He also mentioned that the most succulent tender stems were eaten, though bitter and salty. In 1811, Robert Brown coined the name Caralluma adscendens at the same time that he divided the family Apocynaceae to create the Asclepiadaceae.

See Wikipedia for my explanation of why the name Caralluma did not come from Arabic. Unfortunately, the Arabic explanation fabricated by Helmut Genaust has been incorporated in thousands of websites and the introductions of scores, if not hundreds, of science journal articles dealing with species of Caralluma. The authors almost never give a citation. Presumably because they did not want to admit that they got it from Wikipedia, which did not have a citation either - before I found the original source.

Boucerosia was coined in 1834 from the ancient Greek word βούκερως (Boukeros) meaning "horned like an ox or cow" from the shape of the corona lobes in the centre of the flower.

The corona of my Frerea indica/Boucerosia frerei showing the vague 
resemblance to five pairs of deep purple ox horns around the outside edge.


Dr Pundarikakshudu Tetali reported that the plant is eaten when leafless.⁹⁹ 

The succulent stem is eaten as a vegetable at Alanga Fort in Nashik District between September and December¹⁰⁵ It is eaten between September and January at an unspecified location, which may or may not be somewhere else.³⁷ 

In northwestern Ahmednagar (mainly in the Akole tehsil), 47 people were asked about their use of wild vegetables and the plants they indicated in the wild were photographed, specimens were collected and the plants carefully identified. 27 of the informants indicated that Frerea indica raw stems/fresh shoots are eaten.¹⁰⁶ 

One source gives a preparation for the stems before eating: crush and soak in water for 2 hours, wash repeatedly 4 or 5 times. A similar preparation is used for the stems of Caralluma adscendens⁷⁹ (the plant which shares the same Marathi names as Frerea indica).²⁶

I have nibbled a few spare bits of the plants when I pruned them. The stems and leaves were both a pleasant texture and quite tasty, with only a trace of the strong bitterness that makes Caralluma adscendens challenging to eat for someone unused to it.

The plant is used in medicine for wound-healing.⁷⁵ Another source states that the leaves are rubbed on wounds to heal them.⁶⁹ It is also used to promote hair growth.¹¹ 

I skinned a knuckle accidentally at work and washed the 10mm x 4mm wound with cold water direct from the tap. The profuse bleeding stopped eventually. When I got home about five hours later, I applied one drop of clear juice/latex from some cuttings of Frerea I had lying around being ignored. I continued to apply just one drop twice a day. It dried quickly and with a slight transparent glossiness. It did not produce the thick, rubbery coating like the latex of other asclepiads, such as Asclepias syriaca. The clear, colourless latex that oozes when Frerea is injured is a lot more bitter than the stems or leaves.

The wound showed no infection or inflammation, except for a little swelling when I hit it against furniture three times in one day. The scab never cracked or oozed despite being on a knuckle. The wound healed without any problem over two weeks. I used no other treatment except a wisp of cotton wool for padding under some micropore tape to keep from the wound from damage. 

This was not a scientific test as that would have required a control wound that got no treatment. I was not prepared to punch a wall with my other fist. Apparently my dedication to the scientific method is not as wholehearted as I thought.

I have found no chemical analyses of Frerea indica despite the ease of its cultivation and its known medicinal uses. Related plants often contain steroid derivatives of the pregnane group. They have been investigated for effects ranging from wound-healing and treating diabetes to appetite-suppression. 

Some latex produced by asclepiads also contains proteases, protein-digesting enzymes. The protease enzyme from the completely unrelated papaya, papain, has been used for removing debris from wounds because of its specificity in dissolving proteins. It does not attack healthy tissue.


The plant was at one time considered to be one of the most endangered plants known on Earth. It has only been found in 14 or 15 locations in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra State.

If the plant were more abundant, or people less so, those uses for food and medicine would not be a problem. Everywhere in the modern world, of course, nature is mostly concreted over in the name of progress and profit. 

Pressures on the plant populations include the habitats being unstable and threatened. Another major problem appears to be the loss of whatever pollinator was pollinating the flowers at some locations. It has been reported that ripe fruit is seldom seen in the wild. Other observers have seen ripe fruit at some locations.

Luckily the plant is said to be very easy to grow from cuttings and does set seed in cultivation. Intensive conservation measures have led to its future becoming far more secure though it is still considered Endangered. It is commonly grown by succulent enthusiasts and botanical gardens around the world. That is, unfortunately, not a sufficient guard against the loss of genetic diversity and ecological position in the wild populations.

Mature Frerea indica pod (follicle) showing the plumed seeds ready to fly.
Photograph: Dr P. Tetali. From Kew Gardens website, POWO ⁷³


Frerea is unusual in having two different systems of photosynthetic pathway in the same plant at the same time.⁴⁶ The leaves have the C3 pathway. Most plants with which we are familiar also use the C3 pathway. There is also a C4 pathway followed by many cereals, pineapple and cabbages but that is another matter.

The stems have the CAM pathway which was first found in succulent plants of the Crassulaceae family which contains popular house plants like the Jade tree (Crassula ovata) and various species of Kalanchoe. This is why the name Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) was given to this pathway. Many other succulent and arid-enduring plants in a wide range of families also have this form of photosynthetic pathway.

CAM allows succulent plants to keep the stomata on the surface of the plant closed during the day. This reduces water loss from what would otherwise be open holes in the waxy protection on the surface of the stem. The plant takes in carbon dioxide through open stomata during the night and fixes it by making malic acid from it. During the day the malic acid is used up by the process of photosynthesis. Many CAM plants are acid-tasting in the morning and have lost that tang by evening. 

The leaves of Frerea do not need this defence because they are only present during the wet season, falling off when the dry season begins. The stems then curl up and become quite silvery, to reduce the intensity of the light they will be enduring. The satellite photos on Google Maps seem to show an incredibly arid landscape but that is just because the satellites would not be able to get any image during the rainy season because of the cloud cover.

JS Sarkaria noted⁹³ that some seedlings of Frerea found at the Rest House on the peak of Shivneri Hill had a fusiform tuber, a swollen root in the shape of a spindle. PV Bruyns stated that none of the Frerea seedlings grown at Cape Town had ever shown signs of a tuber.¹³ Perhaps Bruyns was not hard enough on his plants? An empathetic gardener can find it difficult to make their plants stay dormant for more than half the year. The example shown in the photograph in Sarkaria's article was leafless, presumably collected during dormancy. Sarkaria wrote:⁹³
There, under Euphorbia bushes and hidden by grass, I found several small plants of Frerea. Quite evidently these had grown from seeds. A remarkable feature that I noticed was that all the small plants had a thick central fusiform root, 1.5-2.0 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm long. The stems of these plants were hardly 1 cm in diameter. The branches, as they trailed on the ground, threw roots out on the way. This characteristic feature of the primary roots has not been described before, and has not been seen by me in any other Indian Caralluma.


Another adaptation that may have helped Frerea survive is its mimicry of another plant found in the same area.¹⁰⁰ Mingut, (मिंगुट, Euphorbia neriifolia) is one of the vast spurge family whose members are familiar to most gardeners. They are all poisonous to some degree and the milky latex will burn human skin. Apart from the thorns the Euphorbia does look like a much larger version of the Frerea.

Cultivated Euphorbia neriifolia
Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions, Bangalore, India. 
Photographer Forestowlet From Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

When Frerea is grown away from its tiny natural range it is often attacked by caterpillars of the plain tiger butterfly Danaus chrysippus, which is quite pretty despite the name. This is a relative of the famous monarch butterflies that migrate in incredible numbers between Central and North America, Danaus plexippus. Both the plain tiger and the monarch caterpillars specialise in feeding on milkweeds, asclepiads like Frerea. The caterpillars accumulate the steroid toxins from the plant to protect themselves from predators.

There are plenty of other asclepiad plants around Maharashtra to feed a healthy population of the plain tiger butterfly. The Calotropis procera being eaten in the photo below is common in the area. The butterflies seem to avoid, ignore or not find the Frerea in the wild, despite Frerea being an excellent food source. Presumably the chance of laying eggs on the toxic Euphorbia is not worth taking. Or they just can't see or smell the Frerea.

Plain tiger caterpillar on Apple of Sodom (Calotropis procera) leaf.
Thane district, Maharashtra, India. Photographer Dr. Raju Kasambe
From Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

JS Sarkaria noted the presence of a thick growth of Euphorbia neriifolia at Vazirgarh Hill Fort when he hunted Frerea there.⁹³ He also noted the presence of another plant with similar stems.
An interesting plant found in association was Kalanchoe olivacea Dalz., with thick fleshy roots - at that time of the year most of these plants were also leafless and their whitish stems projected upwards from the same ledges and crevices that supported F. indica.
Many species of Kalanchoe contain toxic steroids called bufadienolides. I have not been able to find studies of the toxic chemicals found in the few species of Kalanchoe that are native to India. If they do contain these chemicals then they are protected against some herbivores. Some insects may specialise in Kalanchoe and sequester those poisons for themselves, as the plain tiger butterfly does with the similar steroid toxins of the asclepiads.

Kalanchoe olivacea was also first described¹⁸ by Nicol Dalzell, though he did not find it at Shivneri Hill. Dalzell described it as found "under the cliff at Paunchgunny" (Panchgani, 10 miles east of Mahabaleshwar) and Pandooghur (Pandavgad Hill Fort, seven miles northeast of Panchgani). Panchgani was known as Paunchgunny at the time and was used as a summer resort by the British because of the moderate temperatures. There was a cliff above the Bazaar at Panchgani which is, presumably, "the cliff". Kalanchoe olivacea has since been found at other sites in Maharashtra as well as in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka States.⁶⁷ 

Other stapeliads and their leaves

Apteranthes joannis

Apteranthes joannis (previously Caralluma joannis) is a rare stapeliad only found in a very small area high in the mountains of southwest Morocco. Populations have been found at altitudes of 720m (2,360 feet), 886m (2,900 feet) and 1,460m (4,790 feet).

The stems are about as thick as those of Frerea. Apteranthes joannis stems are sometimes upright but usually hang off limestone cliffs. Sometimes found growing among succulent, thorny, toxic Euphorbia echinus with other toxic stem succulents and spiny shrubs.¹⁰ ⁴⁵ Intermittent fog and rain at the high altitudes of the mountains can be enough to sustain complex colonies of plants. 

The most famous resident of these mountains is probably the endemic Argania spinosa (also called Sideroxylon spinosum) tree, whose seeds are the source of the now terribly fashionable argan oil. Argan oil was, and still is, an essential resource for the locals. They can now make a lot more money selling it for export for food and cosmetic use than selling it in their own markets.

Some authors have stated that all species of Apteranthes are edible. In many parts of Morocco, Apteranthes europaea is collected from the wild and sold in markets as a vegetable and medicine. I could not find a specific mention of Apteranthes joannis being eaten or used in medicine. This may simply be due to its rarity or the difficulty of identifying Apteranthes species when they are not in flower.

The leaf stubs of Apteranthes joannis are perhaps some of the largest among stapeliads. The leaf nubs die and fall off during the dry seasons. The plants flower in the wet season. It seems to me that this plant has some parallels in both form and ecology to Frerea, though clearly adapted to a more arid environment.

A selection of my stapeliads from Southern Africa and Arabia 
showing a more typical range of leaf remnants. From left:
Orbea variegata (spines), Echidnopsis scutellata ssp. dhofarensis (small nubs), 
Desmidorchis flava (tiny, soon dry), Hoodia flava (different spines), 
Angolluma quadrangula (tiny, soon dry). 

Cultivation requirements

I can't really comment on how to grow the plant as I have only had them since the 28th of May this year. I can say they are pretty tough.

The two plants arrived bare-rooted after 14 days in a parcel travelling from Hungary in warm weather (delayed due to postal difficulties caused by a pandemic virus) The leaves were tightly curled up and terribly wrinkled. They looked very sorry for themselves. Within a day of being planted and watered the leaves were plump and full again. They started growing and producing flower buds within a week. The first flower opened within a month of their arrival.

I filled about a fifth of a standard 10cm square pot with large horticultural gravel and then made it up to a quarter full with smaller horticultural gravel. I soaked a mixture of coco compost and perlite in a solution with Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) and a little calcium citrate in it. I drained some with a sieve and filled most of the rest of the pot with this mixture. I placed the roots in the compost while keeping most of the base of the plant supported by another layer of small gravel. The gravel also covered the top of the compost to avoid the growth of algae.

In a few years I should know if that is good practice for Shindal Makudi. Phil Clark advised very well-drained compost and careful watering.¹⁵ I water them when the water in the saucer under the pot disappears, which is probably careful overwatering.

I set their dawn in my little artificial light cabinet to be 5:30 in the afternoon and dusk at 8:30 in the morning. This gives them 15 hours of light and 9 hours of night. This is about 50 minutes longer than the hours they would get on the longest day at Anjaneri Hill in Maharashtra (including "Civil Twilight"). Anjaneri Hill has the most northerly known populations of Shindal Makudi.

The temperature was sometimes getting up to 30°C during their day and not going below 21°C during their night. There is a little computer fan gently wafting air into the chamber from outside with a stainless steel mesh from a cafetière before the fan to filter out dust.

The lights are mostly standard Philips 12.5W LED home lightbulbs, a mix of warm white (with a more red spectrum) and cool white (with a more blue spectrum). I still have one 8.5W growlamp from Clas Ohlson from some years ago. That was unnecessarily expensive so I am unlikely to get any more. Horticultural LED lamps tend to be designed for adding light to plants that have some sunlight but not quite enough. House lightbulbs have a broader spectrum, not just red and blue, and so they may be more suited to a plant that is not getting any other source of light. The horticultural lamps make everything look very odd with a pinky-purple light that can make it difficult to see what is going on with the plants.

I also feel that the domestic lightbulbs are usually more robust, well-engineered and cheaper due to their mass production. Philips say that their bulbs will last 15 years. 

At the moment the plants seem to be appreciating the lovely sunny monsoon season they are having. The flowers usually last about three days under these conditions, though one lasted over two weeks. They fold the petals up when they begin to wither. None of my flowers have been pollinated yet. Though the presence of yellow sticky insect traps might make that unlikely. 

A. Woodward suggested¹⁰⁸ that air-layering was the best method of propagation for Frerea. The plant produces little root nubs on the underside of the branches, even in dry air. When growing wild "in waterfalls" these adventitious roots develop so they are hanging from every node. Simply popping a pot full of compost under the branch and securing the branch to the surface of the soil should be an effective way of producing new plants. Woodward thought normal cuttings were slow to root. He suggested that, if you do take cuttings, they should simply be laid on the surface of the compost and sprayed regularly.

Woodward also thought the plant would drop its leaves if kept dry for more than a few days. My plant would like to disagree. I think they might need short days as well as drought to persuade them to drop the leaves.

One of my plants after 4 months of growth and then one month without 
water. All the branches are new growth since I received the plant.

The same plant after a total of 2 months and 10 days without any water, 
in 35-45% humidity, 21-27°C and a constant breeze.

Note that this plant lost some leaves and the stem shrivelled after 70 days without water. However, the stems carried on growing and four branches have produced flower buds at the ends. The easiest flower bud to see is in the top right-hand corner of this photograph. I can only imagine that it refused to give up because of the 15 hour daylength. Immediately after this photo I fed and watered the poor thing.

The beige leaves that had dried completely on the plant had the scent of an excellent Japanese green tea when crushed.

Frerea is, perhaps, one of the most widely cultivated of the few Indian succulents grown in gardens and greenhouses by succulent enthusiasts around the world. Widely grown but not frequently. It is not as common as many other cacti and succulents in the collections of specialists though Frerea has always held a fascination for those growers with an interest in the stapeliads. It was the first photograph of a flower in the first issue of Asclepiadaceae, which became Asklepios, the journal of the International Asclepiad Society.¹⁰⁸ It has featured in that journal many times since.

The unfortunate smell of the flowers, either of death or unwashed human depending on the observer, prevents it from becoming a beloved houseplant. Though it is easy to grow, has beautiful flowers for many months and would thrive in a hanging basket indoors.

First recorded European encounter in India

Hewra, Shivneri Hill Fort and Junnar
Shivneri Hill seen from the west. Some caves are visible.
Photographer Sanjay Jambhulkar. 
From Wikimapia CC BY-SA 3.0

The Hewra and Shivneri gardens were set up by the Scottish botanist Alexander Gibson. In 1842, Gibson wrote²⁷ about the gardens:
... the gardens under my charge are .—
   1st, Dapoorie. 2nd, The subsidiary garden at Hewra and Neergora. 3rd, The cultivated portions of the Hill-Fort of Sewnere applicable to the rearing of trees which are affected by the heat of the plains.
The garden at Dapoorie or Dapodi दापोडी  was set up in 1828 under the rule of the British East India Company and abandoned when the property was sold in 1865. Dapodi is now a suburb of Pune. Gibson had complained about the poor quality of the soil there which he described²⁷ as "inferior and dead black soil". Though the Dapodi garden had partially paid for itself with its produce.

The garden at Hewra was started in 1838 by Gibson. The present transliteration of हिवारे is Hivare, but it has had many spellings over the years in various papers. Hivare is 62 km (38 miles) north-north-east of Dapodi at about 2000 feet (610 metres) above sea level. The gardens were by the river and were lost in 1976 when irrigation improvements flooded them.⁸⁸

Shivneri Hill Fort is 18 Km (11 miles) north-west of Hivare, on the outskirts of the town of Junnar. The Bombay Flora was published in 1861 and was written by Nicol Dalzell and Alexander Gibson. The Flora included seven mentions of plants that they had collected from "Sewnere Fort".¹⁸

Part of Shivneri Hill Fort
Photographer Bajirao Nawale, 10/10/2010. 

Occupation of Shivneri Hill by Hīnayāna Buddhist monks is evident from the time of the Satavahana dynasty, from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD. 84 caves have been found carved into the sides of Shivneri Hill. More are probably still buried or inaccessible. The majority are of the vihāra type, monk's cells. There are also three large caitya types or halls. Many decorative carvings ornament the caves. The cells and halls would have been furnished with wooden doors and ornamentation, though only the sockets remain.

There is one cave on the eastern side of the hill with two levels joined by an internal passage. The lower cave has the entrance and two windows at the front. There are three cells on each side wall and four cells at the back. The upper cave has an open gallery 7.2m (23.6 feet) wide and 2.1m (7 feet) high. This gallery also had fittings for a wooden screen. The view from that gallery is apparently beautiful and includes the entire valley and part of Junnar town.

There are also at least 60 rock-cut cisterns for water supply and bathing. The cisterns are mainly between 2 and 4 metres (6½ and 13 feet) deep. The largest cistern has a surface 6.1 by 5.8 metres (20 by 19 feet).³⁶

I may have got carried away describing these caves, I did not want my readers to think that these are simple holes in a cliff. Pictures can be found on Wikimedia Commons.

Inscriptions mention that the caves and cisterns were often paid for by lay Buddhists as a gift to the monks to gain merit. Shivneri dominated the Naneghat pass, on a trade route from the seaports on the coast to various population centres inland. Some of the donations appear to have come from Greeks. The Ionians gave their name to all Greeks as  Yavana.  It has even been suggested that the name of Junnar comes from "Yavana-nagara" - "Greek-town".¹⁰³

The military fort was founded sometime before the 13th century and has been renovated, rebuilt and extended through the centuries. The well-built stone fort is 1.5 km (14/15 mile) from north to south and 1 km (⅝ mile) from west to east.⁹⁶ The fort is found at 1024 metres (3360 feet) above sea level, though the hill reaches 1067 metres (3500 feet).
View from inside Shivneri Hill Fort.
Photographer Swayamjeet201, 27 November 2016. 

1863, last week of August: almost certainly Shivneri Hill Fort

Sketches of Frerea indica by Walter Hood Fitch.
(Adjusted in GIMP to improve visibility)
Kew Gardens Herbarium Sheet
(1863? Stamped as received at Kew 1867)¹⁹
The comment about vibratile hairs must have been added 
after 1898 when Woodrow published his description.⁵¹

The description by Dalzell of the location where the first Frerea indica was found is, unfortunately, slightly vague. The report²¹ in The Journal of the Linnean Society in 1865 gave the location as:
Hab. Concan, alt. 3000 ped.
I met with this plant while botanizing a few days ago on a hill-fort in this neighbourhood, 3000 feet high. It was growing in large flattish patches on the bare rock on the western face of the hill.
Presumably, this was all that Dalzell told the Dr Thomson who delivered the talk for him. "Concan" refers to the entire coastal side of the present day Maharashtra State and part of the states to the north and south. Quite a large neighbourhood.

Dr Thomson was probably Dr Thomas Thomson who had been superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Gardens from 1855-1861. He had returned to Britain due to illness. The talk to the Linnean Society in London was given on the 3rd of March 1864. The comment in that talk that "I met with this plant while botanizing a few days ago..." has led a lot of authors to believe that the plant was discovered in 1864.

The herbarium specimen¹⁹ made from Dalzell's find has a description written when the herbarium sheet was made up at Kew Gardens:

Freraea indica Dalz. Nr
     Bombay Presidency
Hills near Hewra
Ill[ustrated] flowers in spirit in Museum.
This might be the handwriting of one of the Hookers. When Joseph Dalton Hooker published The Flora of British India in 1885 he wrote³¹ that Frerea had been found at a "hill foot near Hewra". That was clearly a typo or misreading for "hill fort". That it was "near Hewra" might have been an assumption Hooker made because of the letters he received from Dalzell.

Dalzell's specimens of Frerea indica, dried and pressed.
Flowers and more parts from his collection are also stored in spirit at Kew.

The only other sources for information about the discovery of which I am aware are the letters of Dalzell. I found 4 letters online, from Dalzell to the Hookers at Kew Gardens that mentioned his specimens of Frerea indica. The letters were sent in 1863 and 1864.²⁰
Hewra via Jooneer,  Sept 2d. /63
                          ...It is now nine
months since I returned to India
and it has been a source of
disappointment to me that I am
unable to devote so much time
to scientific pursuits as I used
in the former days when I was
a subordinate and had no
responsibility. ...
                                          ...I send you
also a parcel containing a flower & plant
of a new genus of Asclepiadeae, which
I found last week, which I have
(if new as I think it is) dedicated
to our Excellent Governor, and which
I hope you will be able to get pub[lishe]d.
(with figure if possible) somewhere,
and so late as last Evening I have
found a new Microtropis...
   ... - so you see, that our Flora
is not all exhausted yet. 
Hewra via Joonere. Sept. 23rd /63
                               ...- I sent
lately a phial with a specimen
of a new genus of Asclepiads, which
I requested your most worthy
& excellent father to call Frerea,
after our equally worthy Governor.
I hope the phial (inside of a Book
arrived in safety. 
Bombay Decr. 11th. 1863
After his signature, Dalzell adds:
I s[houl]d. so much like a drawing
of the Frerea, if it
is published _ _ 
Bombay, May 13th 1864
                          - I saw the
notice of the Frerea, at the Linn[ean]
soc[iety]. meeting for which please thank
Dr. Thomson in my name. I shall
send you a mass of it after the
rains, when the leaves fall off,
& it goes to rest. Did you not
promise me a sketch of it?

It is clear from these letters that Dalzell had travelled through Junnar to Hewra. There are no hills above 2,500 feet (760 metres) near Hewra. I think it is safe to assume that Dalzell had collected the specimens while at Junnar on his way to Hewra. If he was travelling from Bombay to visit the gardens at Hewra he would be likely to visit the gardens at Shivneri Hill, a short walk from Junnar.
Drawings of Frerea indica published with Dalzell's first description.²¹
Presumably also drawn by Walter Hood Fitch.
The Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany (1865) Plate 3

Dalzell after Frerea

It seems that Dalzell was prevented by those responsibilities to which he referred in the first letter and never returned to Shivneri Hill gardens to collect more Frerea. He never did send live plants to Kew Gardens. On the 8th of July 1865 Dalzell noted that he had only been able to spend three days at Hewra in the previous two years. On the 7th of September 1865 Dalzell refused an offer of plants from Joseph Dalton Hooker as he had no garden he could oversee, "the Governor preventing me from spending the monsoon months at my favourite garden at Hewra, and during the fair season I am completely occupied with prest affairs." Dalzell's official job was as conservator of forests and superintendent of the botanic gardens of the Bombay Presidency.

In 1865 Dalzell had planned to retire to Australia. Possibly because he had trouble growing Australian plants in Maharashtra. He had spent two years in Australia, from 1853 to 1855. 

The Bank of Hindostan, China and Japan Ltd collapsed in 1866 after only four years of operation, All of Dalzell's savings were wiped out. Due to his losses he continued in India after his service should have ended in August 1869. He had first arrived in Bombay in 1841. He retired to Britain in 1870, due to continued problems with malaria.

On the 20th of January 1871, Hugh Cleghorn suggested to Joseph Dalton Hooker that for Hooker's Flora Indica:
No Ind[ian]. Botanist occurs to me except Dalzell, who is in Cumberland, I believe, he is fond of work & it w[oul]d. be a great object to him to add to his income.
Dalzell was unable to work on the Flora Indica because of his declining health. Nicol Alexander Dalzell died at home, at Williamfield House, Portobello, Edinburgh on the 18th of December 1877, at 60 years old.³²

A thank you letter from the recently bereaved Emily Dalzell to Hooker is preserved at Kew, from the 17th of April 1878. Hooker had sent Mrs Dalzell a cheque for £50, worth perhaps £3,000 in modern money. Emily gave Dalzell's personal herbarium to Kew Gardens and much of it was sent back to India. She was also rewarded with some money for this.

Pulteney Dalzell, Nicol's brother, then lobbied various representatives of the British government to get a pension for Emily as "The widow of the late Mr Dalzell has been left destitute due to misfortunes beyond her husband's control and she has a large family dependent on her."

Later Botanical collections (1890-2020)

A rough map I made to show the published locations.
Right-click and open in a new tab to see full-size.
(Or equivalent on weird devices.)

1890-1897: Hill Fort, Junnar
George Marshall Woodrow published a brief description of Frerea in the December 1898 issue of The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. In the fifth instalment of his "The Flora of Western India" he wrote:
                                      51. Frerea
F. indica, Dalz., F.B.I.—IV-76. Shindal makudi. Hill Fort, Jeener. Sept.-Oct.
(A fleshy glabrous herb or undershrub 4"—6". Flowers ¾" diam.) 
In this case, I would think that the hill fort is probably the one at Junnar, Shivneri Fort. The place was not given as "Hill Fort near Jeener" but simply "Hill Fort, Jeener". The modern town of Junnar comes right up to the foot of Shivneri Hill. The town is just 2 kilometres (1⅓ miles) across.

Mr NB Ranade collected this plant and reported the Marathi name Shindal makudi.⁵¹ Ranade was the Herbarium Keeper at the College of Science in Pune. He was collecting plants for the Botanical Survey, Bombay from 1890.⁵⁰ George Marshall Woodrow was another member of the Botanical Survey, Bombay.

I found one source that has NB Ranade as Namdeorao B Ranade - the Kew Species Profile of Abutilon ranadei (Malvaceae).⁷³ Ranade had collected the first specimens of this rare relative of hibiscus and mallow. Woodrow and Otto Stapf gave it the specific name ranadei in 1894 to celebrate Ranade's contribution to the botany of Maharashtra. I can't find any other corroboration online for the first name but I suppose we can trust Kew Gardens.

In March 1897,  Woodrow had written⁵⁰ "... and from Masani and Ranade, as yet in their botanical adolescence, we have much to expect."

There were riots in Pune in April 1897 to protest against the brutal measures imposed on the Indian residents by the British army to try to control the outbreak of plague. On the 22nd of July 1897, the two British officers in charge of that operation were killed in Pune by the Chapekar brothers. 

Namdeorao B Ranade died from plague in Pune on the 15th of October 1897.⁷⁴

David Prain described Curcuma ranadei from specimens collected by Ranade and grown in the Calcutta Botanic Gardens. Curcuma is the genus of the famous spice known in English as turmeric. Curcuma ranadei is one of those many spectacular, ornamental and useful members of the Zingiberaceae, the ginger, galangal and cardamom family. Prain gave a talk⁷⁴ naming the plant in front of the Bombay Natural History Society on the 6th of December 1897. Prain mentioned Ranade in a brief eulogy:
The species is named in honour of Mr. Ranade, whose praiseworthy work as Herbarium Assistant at Poona, first under T. Cooke and later under Mr. Woodrow, was well known to Indian botanists, and whose untimely death we all deplore.
The Herbarium of the College of Science at Pune was completely destroyed by fire in May 1902. The large amount of paper, dried plant material and strong alcohol in a herbarium is always a fire hazard.¹⁶

Theodore Cooke mentioned this lost herbarium specimen of Frerea in his Flora of the Presidency of Bombay, published in 1908. As Prain had mentioned, Cooke had also worked with Ranade at Pune. The entry¹⁷ reads:
DECCAN : Hill fort, Junnar, Ranade !, Woodrow.
The ! is shorthand for "I have seen and verified this specimen!".¹⁶

Photograph of a cultivated Frerea indica at Pune sometime before 1903.
George Marshall Woodrow "The Flora of Western India Part V".⁵¹  

Woodrow published a short note⁵³ in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society in 1903. It included the photograph above of a cultivated, flowering plant grown from specimens collected by Ranade:
It is of very local occurrence ; found originally by Mr. Dalzell on a hill near Junir and more recently on the same place by Mr. N. B. Ranade, who took plants to Poona which flowered, and the figure ⅔ natural size has been produced from a photograph. 
At Poona it proved to be a prostrate herb with thick branches, and the leaves oblong, subsessile, fleshy, 1½ inches in length ; flowers, solitary or in pairs, ¾ inch diam., rotate, purplish, fringed with vibratile hairs.
So, sometime between 1890 and 1897, Namdeorao B Ranade collected live plants and herbarium specimens from Shivneri Hill Fort. He also grew the plants at Pune, the earliest record of their cultivation. From the photograph it seems the plants were grown very well.

1924: Kate's Point, Mahabaleshwar taluka, Satara District

Richard Dyke Acland was Bishop of Bombay and a vice president of the Bombay Natural History Society. His letter dated December 22nd 1939 and signed as "R.D. Bombay" was published² in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society in 1940:
"I had this plant at Kate's Point, Mahabaleshwar, in October 1924. I have never again been to Mahabaleshwar in the cold weather, and so have not seen it again. The specimen I took for my herbarium is still recognizable..." The only hint to the exact location was "On outcrop rock exposed to sun."

In October 1976, Jagdash Singh Sarkaria visited a private succulent collector, Mr Ghoghari of Ahmedabad. Mr Ghoghari claimed to have collected Frerea from Mahabaleshwar "several years ago".⁹⁴ 

1938: Shivneri Hill Fort, Junnar taluka, Pune District
Charles McCann's drawing of Frerea indica from Shivneri Fort.⁵⁵ 
The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (1940) Plate II

Charles McCann reported that he collected Frerea indica from the eastern face of Shivneri Hill Fort on the 23rd of October 1938.⁵⁵ Tufts of a species of Tripogon grasses were almost invariably associated with the Frerea on the almost vertical rocks where he found it.

Regarding its cultivation McCann simply wrote:
Specimens kept by me in pots seem to be doing well, both in the sun and in the shade, the only difference being that the tendency to elongate is greater in the shade specimens. Under cultivation the specimens, particularly the new branches, retain their leaves.
The photograph he published alongside this description does not seem to show a plant doing well, nor has it retained its leaves. The inset shows one flower.

  McCann's cultivated Frerea indica, 1938-9.⁵⁵ 

McCann did not mention where he grew the plants. Between 1921 to 1946 he was a field collector and assistant curator for the Bombay Natural History Society at Bombay (now Mumbai). The Frerea may have been grown at Bombay but McCann clearly spent long periods in the field.

McCann was born in Castle Rock on the border of Karnataka and Goa states on the 4th of December 1899. Though he had chosen to use his last middle name, his full name was Yule Mervyn Charles McCann, presumably named after the Christmas season, though he was born quite early in Advent. He credited the abundant animal and plant life in the area with stimulating his life-long interest in biology. The area is still heavily forested and now part of the Kali Tiger Reserve. 

McCann left India in 1946 due to the upheavals around Indian Independence and ended up working in New Zealand. He often referred to his regret at that decision.¹ 

1950: Vazirgarh/Vajragad Hill Fort, Purandar taluka, Pune District

In 1950 Hermenegild Santapau reported that he had found some Frerea, almost accidentally.⁹⁰ The plant was growing at 4,000 feet (1220 metres) on the slopes below Vazirgarh Fort.

Santapau suggested that the plant might be much more common than it appeared, despite being rarely collected. His first impression was that it was: 
... a somewhat stunted and irregular stem of Euphorbia neriifolia. ... ... At the same time, judging from my experience, it is quite possible that Frerea is not as rare as it appears, its great similarity with Euphorbia when in leaf may have caused some collectors to mistake one plant for the other and to leave untouched what they considered a very common plant.
Santapau had taken the live plant to his laboratory at St Xavier's College in Bombay. The plant had recovered quickly and soon flowered.⁹⁰ Nariman Aspandiar Irani collected a herbarium specimen of Frerea indica that is now in the herbarium of the Center for Ecological Sciences (CES) of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. It was collected on the 17th of August 1954 from "Bombay - St. Xavier's College". Presumably, the plant was in cultivation there. Irani described³³ the flower as "purplish red with a yellow spot on each petal."

In 1957 (estimated, not dated) Santapau published a brief entry on Frerea in his The Flora of Purandar.⁹¹ He wrote: 
During October 1950 I picked up several stems of this plant on the upper slopes just below the top of Vazirghad fort; after lying about on the floor of my room for about ten days, these stems were put in flower pots in Bombay; they came into flower in the second half of December of the same year. The plant has been thriving ever since (up to Jan. 1956).
Irani and Santapau went on to collaborate on several books, including The Asclepiadaceae & Periplocaceae of Bombay.⁹²  They described the flower:
Corolla fleshy, rotate, 2–2.3 cm across, yellowish green on the outer side, deep purple on the inner, with an irregularly shaped yellow spot in the centre of each lobe ; lobes valvate, divided less than 1/2 way down, deltoid, acute, fringed with fine deep-purple hairs on the edges.
The illustration, though a little crude, shows that the "irregularly shaped yellow spot" was a glyph much like those on the flowers of the plant that I am growing.

They also added that "The plant has been repeatedly collected from the same spot in subsequent years." and gave three herbarium collection numbers for Santapau and three more for Irani, including 108, the one referred to above at the CES of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.⁹²

Hermenegild Santapau was born in La Galera in Tarragona (in Spain, sort of) in 1903. Santapau became a Jesuit priest and after a first PhD in Barcelona, he gained a second PhD in botany at London. He then spent 2 years working in the Herbarium of Kew Gardens. Santapau arrived in India in 1928 and worked at St Xavier's College in Bombay from 1940 until his death 1970.⁶ After Indian Independence he became a naturalised citizen of India. He seems to have retained a delight in, and love of, plants throughout his whole life. He also seems to have been an energetic and respected teacher, writer (with 350 articles and books), editor, member of societies and administrator.

Santapau was appointed Chief Botanist of the Botanical Survey of India in 1955. He was Director of the Botanical Survey of India from 1961 to 1968. During his career he collected about 100,000 herbarium specimens.

Among other awards, in 1967 the Indian Government recognised Santapau's huge contribution to the science of Indian botany by awarding him the fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri (Radiant Lotus).⁶

1956: Junnar, Pune District

Collected by Gopal Singh Puri of the Botanical Survey of India in June 1956 with the collector number Puri 2619. The short note that mentions the collection refers to it as from the "type locality", so presumably Shivneri Hill.⁷⁸

Though Puri was successful as an academic, it was easier to find biographical details about his wife Kailash. GS Puri was a wonderful and supportive husband to Kailash Kaur Puri. Kailash ran women's magazines in the Punjab, wrote novels and cookery books. When they moved to the UK, she advised the clothing and food chain stores Marks and Spencer on their Indian and Punjabi food ranges. She was also the first Punjabi sexologist and agony aunt and helped those who had moved to the UK to transition to the less-traditional culture. They taught yoga together in Crosby in Merseyside from 1968 to 1990, leaving a lasting influence on the style of British yoga teaching. Gopal Singh Puri also dispensed Ayurvedic herbal treatments during that time.¹⁴ ⁷⁶

1963: Vazirgarh/Vajragad Hill Fort, Purandar taluka, Pune District

Recollected at "Top of Varirgad, Purandhar" by Rolla. Collection number Rolla 88641.³⁵ ⁵⁹

Before 1971: Vazirgarh Hill Fort?

Another reference to Frerea indica being cultivated was a very brief report in 1975 from the Botanical Survey of India, Western Circle at Pune. R Sundara Raghavan noted⁷⁸ that: 
... but under experimental cultivation, the plants fruited for the first time at Pune in 1971, the seeds exhibiting 50% germination. A redeeming feature of this rare plant is its successful ready propagation from cuttings and it is worth introducting in garden as an ornamental pot plant. 
Raghavan did not reveal where they obtained the plants in the short published note. The chromosome count was from a voucher specimen "Singh 108937 BSI". He does state that there had been no recent collections from Shivneri Hill Fort. Later in 1975, Raghavan (with a Dr K Singh) recommended that JS Sarkaria's best chance to find Frerea was to collect from Vazirgarh Hill Fort. As Purandhar was the only other site mentioned in the published note, it seems likely that Vazirgarh/Purandhar was the origin of this collection.

1975: Vazirgarh/Vajragad Hill Fort, Purandar taluka, Pune District

Jagdash Singh Sarkaria and his trained field collector Dayal Chand found plants in crevices and on ledges of cliffs on the northeast of "Wazirpur" on the 19th of December 1975.⁹⁴ 

Sarkaria noted:⁹³
Approaching the base of the cliffs through the thick growth of E. neriifolia we started spotting clumps of F. indica also growing at the base of the cliffs. These had become established from branches which had fallen down from the cliffs above. While the clumps on the cliff were leafless, those at the base of the cliffs had a few shrivelled leaves. Inside Vazirgarh Fort I found plants of Frerea hanging on large stone boulders and cliffs, and also in amongst broken stones at the base of these rocks. All the Frerea habitats were on the shady sides of the cliffs which were generally covered with moss and lichen.
Sarkaria visited again on the 5th of October 1976. He noted that plants at the foot of the cliff were in full, lush leaf and several clumps were 60cm (2 feet) across. One plant was 120cm (4 feet) across. There were abundant fibrous roots from the underside of the creeping stems. On the cliffs some plants trailed 45cm (1½ feet) stems.⁹⁴ He gave it the collection number J48-75. He recorded Frerea still being there in January 1988.⁹⁵

1975: Purandar Hill Fort, Purandar taluka, Pune District

Purandar and Vajragad are twin peaks of the same mountain formation. Purandar being the higher peak to the north and Vajragad to the south. Jagdash Singh Sarkaria collected from a plant from the north face of Purandar on the 19th of December 1975 and gave it the collection number J49-75. It was noted to have yellow flowers. Sarkaria collected it again on the 5th of October 1976.⁹⁴ Phil Clark had a personal communication from Gordon Rowley suggesting that this clone "with pale yellow brown flowers" was still cultivated in 1994.¹⁵ Sarkaria stated that all the plants were found above 1250m on both Purandar and Vazirgarh Hills.⁹³

Before 1976: Parvati Hill, Pune

In the first days of October 1976, Jagdash Singh Sarkaria visited⁹⁴ a private succulent collector, Mr Ghoghari of Ahmedabad. 
From Rajkot we went to Ahmedabad where we saw Mr. Ghoghari's collection. Mr. Ghoghari's collection has some very good Adenium obesum plants. ...
... Mr. Ghoghari had told us that he had collected Frerea indica from Parvati Hill in Poona and at Mahab[a]leshwar, several years ago, when Poona had not become the big industrial city that it is today.
A few days later Sarkaria collected some Caralluma fimbriata from Parvati Hill. He looked for Frerea while he was there but did not find any.

1977: Shivneri Hill Fort, Junnar taluka, Pune District

Jagdash Singh Sarkaria found several plants at different spots within the Fort at Shivneri on the 19th of November 1977.⁹⁴ He recorded Frerea as still being there in January 1988.⁹⁵ One of the plants collected in 1977 (J 156-77) provided seed that Sarkaria donated to the 1985 International Asclepiad Society seedlist.⁶⁵

Before 1982: Pratapgad Hill Fort, Jawali Forest, Satara District

Pratapgad (or Pratapgarh) Hill Fort was built by Emperor Shivaji and completed in 1656. The name means Valour Fort (प्रतापगड in Marathi). An important battle, now called the Battle of Pratapgad, was fought below the fort in 1659. A rather magnificent 17 foot (5.2 metre) bronze statue of Emperor Shivaji astride a horse with sword raised to the sky was unveiled by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957.

Brian Fearn mentioned while describing his 1982 plant hunting visit to Maharashtra that he was expecting to find Frerea on Pratapgarh Hill Fort. Fearn had just visited the Blatter Herbarium at St Xavier's College. He stated that herbarium records placed the plant at 3543 feet (1080 metres) on the hill fort. Fearn was disappointed to find no Frerea plants though there was plenty of Euphorbia neriifolia. Fearn thought that the new access road built when Nehru visited and the subsequent growth as a major tourist attraction had been detrimental to the local wildlife.²⁵
Emperor Shivaji Bhosale I, statue at Pratapgad Hill Fort.
Photographer Prasadfalke, 8 August 2009.
Clearly taken during the monsoon, unlike the photo in the first section 
above of the same statue taken in sunshine in November. 

1993: Sajjangad, Satara taluka, Satara District

1993: Shivtharghal, Varandha ghat, Mahad taluka, Raigad District

I could not find the original articles⁴³ ⁴¹ online but these collections are reported in later articles.⁵⁸ ⁹⁹

1993: Junnar taluka, Pune District

Peter Vincent Bruyns collected the plant in Junnar in August or September 1993. The plant he collected was cultivated and is now available, sometimes called by the collection code PVB5925. The plant appears to be in the 67% of herbarium specimens not yet put online by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, so I can't be sure of the exact date. Bruyns published an excellent photo of the very stripy flower in his Stapeliads of Southern Africa and Madagascar in 2005.¹³
Caralluma frerei collected by Peter V. Bruyns. 
Photographed from a cultivated plant by the late Chris Moore.
Used by kind global permission of Chris Moore, 
from his incredible gallery⁶¹ Asclepiad Exhibition

Chris Moore accidentally designated this as PVB9778, but he also has that as the collection number for Huernia brevirostris ssp. brevirostris from the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. As Bruyns was in South Africa collecting PVB9769 on the 4th of April 2004 and PVB9788 on the 6th of April 2004, it seems more likely that it is correct for the Huernia. This photograph looks very like other photos on the internet of PVB5925. Except that I would have to ask permission to use those.

1996, Shivneri Hill Fort, Junnar taluka, Pune District
Grown in the UK from material supplied by Kew Gardens. 
Kew accession number: 1996 764. 
Photograph kindly supplied by Mike Cullen.

Kew notes say: 
Collected in Poona, India. Scarce plant came from type locality. Area now severely threatened by logging. Occurs naturally on limestone waterfalls.
Could this be from the Tetali et al collections detailed in the next section?

1997 or before, Shivneri Hill, Vazirgarh, Sajjangad & Shivtharghal

Pundarikakshudu Tetali et al revisited these four sites and published their results in 1997. At Shivneri they found four separate areas with a total of 56 plants. At Vazirgarh there were more than 100 plants, at Sajjangad more than 50 and at Shivtharghal more than 40. Seeds from plants at Sajjangad were collected and grown at their Naoroji Godrej Centre for Plant Research nursery in Shindewadi, Maharashtra.

The altitude range is given as between 750 metres (2460 feet) to 1,347 metres (4420 feet)

1998: Randha Falls, Akole taluka, Ahmednagar district

Dipak Kumar Mishra collected the plant on the 10th of September 1998. He only found 10 mature individuals. They were on steep slopes in rocky crevices near waterfalls. The article includes a colour photo.⁵⁸

Before 2004: Anjaneri Hill Fort, Trimbakeshwar taluka, Nashik District

Mentioned as "Recently collected from Nasik Trumbakeshwar." in an article³⁹ from 2004. In an undated document from ENVIS, this location is given as Nasik (Trymbakeshwar, Anjaneri hills).²⁴ A profile of Anjaneri Plateau lists Frerea as one of the endemic and threatened plants found there.¹⁰⁷ 

Anjaneri was named after Anjana, the mother of the noble monkey-god, Hanuman. Hanuman is said to have been born on Anjaneri Hill. 

When Lakshman suffered mortal wounds in the war against the rakshasa, Hanuman was sent to fetch a magical herb to cure him. Hanuman is said to have been unable to identify which herb was needed. So he uprooted the entire mountain covered in medicinal herbs and flew with it from the Himalayas to Lanka. Through the ages, this has been a popular scene in Indian art of all forms.

Before 2005: Alanga Fort, Igatpuri taluka, Nashik District
In this PhD thesis the stems were reported to be eaten as a vegetable by the local tribes. The plant was found "in dry situations in crevices on slopes" on Alangarh in the Kalsubai range. The author included a colour photo.¹⁰⁵

Before 2012: Dongarwadi, Pimpari Lake, Mulshi taluka, Pune District

I couldn't find a full publication of this collection site. An undated document²⁴ on the website of the Botanical Survey of India produced by the ENVIS Centre of Floral Diversity mentions "Mulshi: Dongarwadi, Pimpari lake" in the list under Distribution. The latest reference in that document is from 2012.

Google Maps does not have a Dongarwadi village or Pimpari lake, though it should be to the east of Tamhini, immediately south-west of Pimpri. There is a power station there called Tata Power Dongarwadi. This location is on a steep ridge between two lakes. There are several places called Dongarwadi and Pimpari in Pune district, this one is 47km (29 miles) due west of Pune.

That crest-line is up to 585 metres (1920 feet) above sea level with mixed evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, scrub and grassland. There are torrential streams and waterfalls.⁷¹ Dongarwadi looks like just the sort of steep, hilly and damp area that Frerea favours.

2009-2016: Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Pune/Thane Districts

The corresponding author refused to even tell me which year this plant was found or give permission to use the photo. So all I can say is that it was found between 2009 and 2016, somewhere in the 130 km² (50 miles²) of the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a nice photo in the paper showing a flower with petals rather reminiscent of the conventional artistic representation of the sacred lotus.⁸⁰

2010-2016: Janai Malai Hill, Satara taluka, Satara District

Simply reported as "Among the rocky crevices of hill cliffs." Suhan Mohan Moholkar had collected herbarium specimens (SMM 2805) and supplied a colour photo in the appendix.⁶⁰

2012-2017: Torna Fort (Prachandagad), Velhe taluka, Pune District

This large list of plants collected from Torna Fort between 2012 and 2017 includes Frerea indica. They found it in rocky crevices. The Fort is 1,403 metres high.⁶⁶ Prachandagad means "huge fort". The fort is believed (by Wikipedia) to have been founded in the 13th Century AD.

2015: Anjaneri Hill Fort, Trimbakeshwar taluka, Nashik District

Sushant More reported on the iNaturalist website in 2019 that he found Boucerosia frerei on the hill on the 29th of January 2015.⁶²

2017: Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Pune/Thane Districts

Mayuresh Kulkarni reported on the iNaturalist website in 2018 that he found Boucerosia frerei in Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary on the 21st of November 2017.⁴²

2020: Lenyadri Hill, Junnar taluka, Pune District

Lenyadri Hill is 6.5 km (4 miles) north-north-east of Shivneri Hill Fort, on the other side of the Kukdi River. Lenyadri is not a hill fort but, like Shivneri, it has caves that were excavated in the 1st to 3rd century AD for Hīnayāna Buddhist monks. There are 29 caves, including two caityas. One cave has since been repurposed as a temple for the Hindu god Ganesh and so the caves are sometimes called Ganesha Lena.³⁶ Sushant More reported on the iNaturalist website that he found Boucerosia frerei on the hill on the 18th of July 2020.⁶³

Continued in Part Two 
(the page was taking a long while to load while editing so I split it)