Printer Friendly

Grass diversity in the historical Kalash valley, district Chitral, Hindukush range, Pakistan.


Pakistan is naturally gifted with diverse flora and altitudinal variation from sea level up to more than 8000 m height. Kalash valley is situated in district Chitral and comprises of three sub valleys viz: Bumburet, Rumbor and Birir. The valley is famous due to its inhabitants that are considered to be the descendants of Alexander the Great.

Floristic composition provides basic information about any ecological, phytogeographical and management studies of the plants of an area. It shows the diversity of species of an area and reflects the effects of soil erosion, overgrazing and deforestation on the plants (Rafay, 2013). Floristic composition also highlights the dependence of local community of an area on plant resources and point outs the hazards on the plants due to the anthropogenic activities.

District Chitral lies between 35[degrees] 15' 06" to 36[degrees] 55'32" north latitudes and 71[degrees] 11' 32" to 73[degrees] 51' 34" east longitudes to extreme north west of Pakistan with total area of 14850 [km.sup.2] (GOP, 1998). The district has important strategic and geographic location and bounded on the east with district Ghizer of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the south with districts of Dir and Swat, on the west with Nooristan province of Afghanistan and on the north-west Wakhan Corridor (Afghanistan) is located (Fig. 1-2). This district has very ancient human history and the peoples are living here from about 4000 years and the area remained an important route for many invaders to South Asia including the Alexander the Great, Scythians, Changez Khan and many others (Shah, 2014). The district Chitral is influenced by Chinese, Greek, Iranian, Mongolian, Tatars and Turk cultures. Many languages like Dameli, Eastern Katviri, Gawar Bati, Gujari, Kalasha, Madaghlashti, Pashto, Phalura, Persian, Shikani, Wakhi and Yidga are also spoken at different and restricted places of Chitral in addition to the main language Kohwar (Chitrali) (Murtaza, 1962).

The present study area "Kalash valley" is located to the extreme south-west of district Chitral and is bounded in the west with Nooristan province of Afghanistan and to the other parts of Chitral by three sides. The valley comprises of major Muslim community along with minority Kalash that are still practicing an old, unique, indigenous and polytheistic religion "Kalasha". The Kalash people remained rulers of Chitral valley for almost five centuries (332-712 AD), but are now restricted only to three sub-valleys viz: Bumburet, Birir and Rumbor, collectively known as Kalash valley or Kafiristan. The Kalash valley is located in the dry temperate zone at 71[degrees] 46' 55" east longitudes and 35[degrees] 50' 32" north latitudes having pleasant summers and very cold winters characterized by heavy snow fall with annual average rain of 250-400 mm. The commonly cultivated crops of the area are maize and wheat and various vegetables are also cultivated by the locals. The natural forest mainly consists of Cedrus deodara (Roxb. Ex Lamb.) G.Don, Juniperus communis L., Juniperus exelsa M. Bieb., Pinus gerardiana Wall. ex Lamb., Pinus wallichiana A. B. Jackson, Quercus baloot Griffith and Quercus incana Lindl. Cattle rearing are also good source of food and income generations for the locals and each of the sub-valleys has its own rangeland and pastures used by the locals for fodder of their cattle. No floristic information is available for Kalash valley. The present study was therefore, designed to enlist the rangeland and other grass species of the Kalash valley, district Chitral, Pakistan.

Materials and Methods

The study area was thoroughly investigated from April 2013 to March 2015 for the collection of rangeland grasses. Specimens were collected, pressed, dried and identified through Flora of Pakistan (Ali and Qaiser, 1993-2015; Ali and Nasir, 1989-1991; Nasir and Ali, 1970-1989) and other available literature in the herbarium of Department of Botany, University of Peshawar. The data on the local uses of these grasses was obtained through interviewing the local inhabitants with the help of a questionnaire. The plants were classified into different classes on the basis of ecological characteristics obtained by following the study of Raunkiaer (1934) and Hussain (1989).

Results and Discussion

The present study revealed that there were 36 grasses belonging to 29 genera as shown in Table 1. Floristic composition showed that Poa was leading genus with 04 species (11.11%) followed by Avena, Bromus, Hordeum and Lolium with 02 (5.55%) species each while the remaining genera were represented by one species each (Fig. 3). The life form spectra showed that therophyte was dominant group with 24 (66.67%) species followed by hemicryptophytes having 8 (22.22%) species, chamaephytes 3 (8.33%) species and geophytes with one (2.78%) species only (Fig. 4). The leaf size spectra revealed that nanophylls were dominant with 26 (72.22%) species followed by microphylls with 4 (11.11%) and mesophylls with 3 (8.33%) species (Fig. 5). Out of 36 grass species, 27 (75%) were growing on dry and 9 (25%) species on wet habitats. 23 (63.89%) species were rarely occurring, 9 (25%) were common and 4 (11.11%) species were abundantly occurring in the valley (Fig. 6). Similarly, 33 (91.67%) were fodder species, 3(11.11%) were food species and 2 (5.55%) species were used for thatching purposes (Fig. 7).

During summer the species distribution was at its maximum and genus Poa showed maximum number of species that revealed that the area is cool and dry and supports dwarf and light grasses in this subtropical region. The extreme climatic conditions, overgrazing, over exploitation of plants and anthropogenic activities supported the annuals and short lived plants so the life form was dominated by therophytes followed by hemicryptophytes and chamaephytes. Present findings are supported by other researchers (Badshah et al., 2013; Rafay, 2013; Qureshi, 2011; Durrani et al., 2010; Manhas et al., 2010; Guo et al., 2009). Similarly, few workers have worked out different aspects of plant resources of Chitral valley i.e. (Shah and Hussain, 2015; 2014; 2012; Hadi et al., 2013; Ali and Qaiser, 2009; Hussain et al., 2007; Shah et al., 2006; Hussain and Murad, 2004).


There is no authentic floristic and ethnobotanical data on plants of Kalash valley, therefore, the present study can provide 1st ever record and first hand information specifically on the grasses and their potential use in historical Kalash valley. However, urbanization of the society has threatened the indigenous uses of these plants and the knowledge of old generation on these plants would be perished soon. Therefore, the present survey will document the precious indigenous knowledge on plants and will be helpful for further conservational and ethnobotanical studies.

The study might also be helpful for the same type of studies of much closed Nooristan Province of war affected Afghanistan.


Ali, H., Qaiser, M. 2009. The ethnobotany of Chitral valley, Pakistan with particular reference to medicinal plants. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 41: 2009-2041.

Ali, S.I., Qaiser, M. (eds). 1993-2015. Flora of Pakistan. Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Pakistan.

Ali, S.I., Nasir, Y.J. (eds). 1989-1993. Flora of Pakistan. Department of Botany, University of Karachi, and National Herbarium, PARC, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Badshah, L., Hussain, F., Sher, Z. 2013. Floristic inventory, ecological characteristics and biological spectrum of rangeland, District Tank, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 45: 1159-1168.

Durrani, M.J., Razaq, A., Muhammad, S.G., Hussain, F. 2010. Floristic diversity, ecological, characteristics and ethnobotanical profile of plants of Aghberg rangelands, Balochistan, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Plant Sciences, 16: 29-36.

GOP, 1998. District Census Report of Chitral, Population Census Organization, Statistics Division, Islamabad, Government of Pakistan, Pakistan.

Guo, Q.S., Wang, X.F., Bar, G., Kang, Y., Hong, M., Pei, S.X., Zhang, F.G. 2009. Life form spectra, leaf character and hierarchical-synusia structure of vascular plants in Thuja sutchuehensis community. Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao, 20: 2057-2062.

Hadi, F., Razzaq, A., Rahman, A., Rashid, A. 2013. Ethnobotanical notes on woody plants of Rech Valley, Torkhow, District Chitral, Hindu-Kush range, Pakistan. Scholarly Journal of Agricultural Science, 3: 468-472.

Hussain, F., Shah, S.M., Badshah, L., Durrani, M.J. 2015. Diversity and ecological characteristics of flora of Mastuj valley, Chitral, Hindukush range, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 47: 495-510.

Hussain, F., Shah, S.M., Sher, H. 2007. Traditional resource evaluation of some plants of Mastuj, district Chitral, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 39: 339-354.

Hussain, F., Murad, A. 2004. Weed communities in the potato fields of Mastuj, District Chitral. Scientific Khyber, 17: 201-206.

Hussain, F., Badshah, L., Sanaullah, P., Durrani, M.J. 2004. Ethnobotany of timber wood species of South Waziristan, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Plant Sciences, 10: 9-16.

Hussain, F. 1989. Field and Laboratory Manual of Plant Ecology, University Grants Commission (UGC), Islamabad, Pakistan.

Manhas, R.K., Singh, L., Vasistha, H.B., Negi, M. 2010. Floristic diversity of protected ecosystems of Kandi Region of Punjab, India. New York Science Journal, 3: 96-103.

Murtaza, M.G. 1962. Nai Tarikh e Chitral. Public Art Press, Peshawar, Pakistan.

Nasir, E.J., Ali, S.I. (eds). 1970-1989. Flora of Pakistan. Department of Botany, University of Karachi, and National Herbarium, PARC, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Qureshi, R.A., Khan, W.A., Bhatti, G.R., Khan, B., Iqbal, S., Ahmad, M.S., Abid, M., Yaqub, A. 2011. First report on the biodiversity of Khunjerab National Park, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 43: 849-861.

Rafay, M., Khan, R.A., Yaqoob, S., Ahmad, M. 2013. Floristic composition of grass species in the degrading rangelands of Cholistan desert. Pakistan Journal of Agriculture Science, 50: 599-603.

Raunkiaer, C., Gilbert, C.H., Fausboll, A., Tansley, A.G. 1934. The Life Forms of Plants and Statistical Plant Geography: Being the Collected Papers of C. Raunkiaer, 632 pp., Clrendon Press, Oxford, UK.

Shah, S.M. 2014. Ecological Evaluation of Rangeland Resources in Mastuj Valley, Hindukush Range, Pakistan. Ph.D. Thesis. Department of Botany. University of Peshawar, Pakistan.

Shah, M., Hussain, F. 2012. Conservation assessment of plant resources of Chakesar valley, district Shangla, KPK, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany, (special issue) 44: 179-186.

Shah, S.M., Hussain, F., Ibrar, M. 2006. Floristic composition, life form and leaf size spectra of summer plants of Mastuj, District Chitral. PUTAJ Sciences, 13: 167-179.

Fazal Hadi (a)* and Muhammad Ibrar (b)

(a) Center of Plant Biodiversity, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan

(b) Department of Botany, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan

(received October 31, 2016; revised December 22, 2016; accepted December 27, 2016)

* Author for correspondence; E-mail:

Caption: Fig. 1. Map of Pakistan on the globe showing Chitral Valley in black square box.

Caption: Fig. 2. Map of district Chitral showing the study area in black square box.

Caption: Fig. 3. Number of species in each genus.
Table 1. Grasses, their ethnobotanical uses and ecological
characteristics in Kalash valley, Hindukush range, district Chitral,

S#      Grass name

1       Agropyron semicostatum Nees ex Steud
2       Agrostis viridis Gouan.
3       Aristida cynantha Nees ex Steud
4       Arundo donax L.
5       Avena fatua L
6       Avena sativa L.
7       Bromus danthoniae Trin.
8       Bromus tectorumbb L.
9       Calamagrostis emodensis Griseb.
10      Chrysopogon echinulatus (Nees ex Steud.) W. Wats
11      Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.
12      Dactylis glomerata L.
13      Dichanthium annulatum (Forssk.) Stapf.
14      Echinochloa crusgalli (L.) P. Beauv.
15      Eragrostis poaeoides P. Beave.
16      Hordeum murinum L.
17      Hordeum vulgare L.
18      Koeleria gracilis Pers.
19      Lolium rigidum Gaud.
20      Lolium temulentum L.
21      Melica inaequiglumis (Boiss.) Bor.
22      Oryza sativa L.
23      Panicum antidotale Retz.
24      Phleum pretense L.
25      Poa annua L.
26      Poa bulbosa L.
27      Poapratensis L.
28      Poa supina Schrad.
29      Piptatherum wendelboi Bor
30      Phragmites karka (Retz.) Trin. ex Steud
31      Polypogon fugax Nees ex Steud
32      Saccharum spontaneum L.
33      Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv.
34      Triticum aestivum L.
35      Vulpia myuros (L.) Gmel.
36      Zea mays L.

S#      Ethnobotanical      Kalash valley
                          B      R      BR

1       Fodder            -      +      +
2       Fodder            -      +      -
3       Fodder            -      +      +
4       Thatching         +      -      -
5       Fodder            +      -      +
6       Fodder            +      +      +
7       Fodder            +      +      -
8       Fodder            +      +      -
9       Fodder            +      -      -
10      Fodder            +      +      -
11      Fodder            +      +      +
12      Fodder            +      -      +
13      Fodder            -      -      +
14      Fodder            +      -      +
15      Fodder            +      +      +
16      Fodder            +      +      +
17      Fodder, food      +      +      +
18      Fodder            -      -      +
19      Fodder            +      +      -
20      Fodder            +      -      -
21      Fodder            +      -      -
22      Fodder, food      -      +      +
23      Fodder            -      -      +
24      Fodder            +      -      -
25      Fodder            +      +      +
26      Fodder            -      -      +
27      Fodder            -      -      +
28      Fodder            -      +      -
29      Fodder            -      +      -
30      Thatching         +      +      -
31      Fodder            -      -      +
32      Fodder            +      -      -
33      Fodder            +      -      -
34      Fodder, food      +      +      +
35      --                -      +      +
36      Fodder, food      +      +      +

S#         Ecological characteristics

         1      2     3      4      5

1       Re     Th     N      M      S
2       Re     Th     N      D      S
3       Cm     H      N      D      S
4       Re     Ch     Mac    M      S
5       Cm     Th     N      D      S
6       Cm     Th     N      D      S
7       Re     Th     Mes    D      S
8       Re     Th     Mes    D      S
9       Re     G      Mes    M      S
10      Re     Th     N      D      S
11      Cm     H      N      D      S
12      Re     Th     N      D      S
13      A      H      N      M      S
14      Re     Th     N      M      S
15      Re     H      N      M      S
16      Cm     Th     N      D      S
17      Re     Th     N      D      S
18      Re     H      N      D      S
19      Re     Th     N      D      S
20      Re     Th     N      D      S
21      Re     H      N      D      S
22      A      H      Mic    M      S
23      Re     Th     N      D      S
24      Cm     Th     N      D      S
25      Re     Th     N      D      S
26      Cm     Th     N      D      S
27      Re     Th     N      D      S
28      Re     Th     N      D      S
29      Re     H      N      D      S
30      Cm     Ch     Mac    M      S
31      Re     Th     Mic    M      S
32      Re     Ch     Mac    D      S
33      Cm     Th     N      D      S
34      A      Th     Mic    D      S
35      Re     Th     N      D      S
36      A      Th     Mic    D      S

B = Bumburet; R = Rumbor; BR = Birir. (1) = Abundance; (2) = Life
form; (3) = Leaf size; (4) = Habitat; (5) = Leaf appearance; A =
abundance; Ch = Chamaephytes; Cm = Common; D = Dry; G = Geophytes; H
= Hemicryptophytes; L = Leptophyll; M = Moist; Mac = Macrophyll; Mes
= Mesophyll; Mic = Microphyll; N = Nanophyll; Re = Rare; S = simple;
Th = Therophytes.

Fig. 4. Graphical representation of life form
spectrum of grasses in Kalash valley.

Therophyte           6.67%
Hemicryptophytes    22.22%
Chamaephytes         8.33%
Geophytes            2.78%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 5. Graphical representation of leaf size
spectrum of grasses in Kalash valley.

Nanophylls    72.22%
Microphylls   11.11%
Mesophylls     8.33%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 6. Graphical representation of presence of
grasses in Kalash valley.

Rare        63.89%
Common         25%
Abundant    11.11%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 7. Graphical representation of ethnobotanical
uses of grasses in Kalash valley.

Fodder        91.6%
Food         11.11%
Thatching     5.55%

Note: Table made from pie chart.
COPYRIGHT 2017 Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Hadi, Fazal; Ibrar, Muhammad
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research Series B: Biological Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 1, 2017
Previous Article:Early growth behaviour of wheat genotypes as affected by polyethylene glycol (PEG-6000).
Next Article:Nutrient priming in different maize cultivars and evaluation of vigour improvement under controlled conditions.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters