East Himalayan Society for Sparmatophyte Taxonomy (TaxoClub)

The idea of establishing a platform for the taxonomists, ecologists, ethnobotanists and biodiversity conservationists working with the Eastern Himalayan plants came to the mind of Dr. Abhaya Prasad Das, Professor of Botany, University of North Bengal. At the beginning the matter was discussed with his students in his own laboratory. As its follow-up action, the idea was communicated to many taxonomists through e-mail and by post. It was then strengthened as most of the people appreciated and welcomes the idea.

In September 2004 Prof. A.K. Pandey (now at Delhi University) and Prof. S.K. Mukherjee (Kalyani University) were visiting North Bengal University. Using their visit as an opportunity, Prof. A.P. Das convened a meeting on 29th September 2004 in the evening. The meeting was also attended by the young taxonomists from the taxonomy laboratory of the North Bengal University.

Members attended the meeting decided to go ahead with the idea and the first Executive Committee was formed:

President: Prof. Sunirmal Chanda

Vice-Presidents: Mr. UC Pradhan & Dr. AS Chouhan

Secretary cum Treasurer: Prof. AP Das

Secretary Out Station: Prof. AK Pandey

Executive members:

  • Prof. SK Borthakur (Gawhati),
  • Prof. AK Das (Itanagar), Prof. SK Mukherjee (Kalyani),
  • Dr. RB Bhujel (Kalimpong),
  • Dr. LR Shkya (Kathmandu),
  • Dr. D Lama (Darjeeling),
  • Dr. U Rai (Darjeeling),
  • Dr. Y Kumar (Shillong).

The name of the society was finalized as the East Himalayan Society for Spermatophyte Taxonomy [EHSST] with a nickname TaxoClub.

It was also decided to publish a journal for the Society. The generic name Pleione (a group of beautiful orchids) was selected as its name.

The members in the meeting also constituted the First Editorial Board for Pleione:

Chief Editor: Prof. AP Das

Co-Editors: Dr. Chandra Ghosh (NBU) & Mr. Lalit K Rai (Gangtok)


  • Dr. AFM. Manzur Kadir (Bangladesh),
  • Dr. Khadga Basnet (Nepal),
  • Ms. Rebecca Pradhan (Bhutan),
  • Dr. P Rethy (Itanagar),
  • Dr. Monoranjan Chowdhury (Malda),
  • Dr. Ajmal Ali (Saudi Arabia)

Editorial Advisory Committee:

  • Prof. Todd S Tussey (Vienna)
  • Dr. HJ Noltie (Edinburgh)
  • Dr. Jun Wen (Chicago)
  • Dr. Holy Strand (IUCN)
  • Prof. KS Bawa (Massachusets)
  • Dr. H Ohnishi (Kyoto)
  • Dr. M Sanjappa (Kolkata)
  • Prof. KS Manilal (Calicut)
  • Prof. RS Tripathi (Lucknow)
  • Prof. SR Yadav (Kohlapur)
  • Dr. Eklabya Sharma (Kathmandu)

But, it took some more time to take the final shape as the members of the core group failing to decide a common date suitable for all to assemble at the University of North Bengal.

During 2006–2007, biologists all over the world were celebrating the birth tercentenary of Carolus Linnaeus. Members at the Head Quarter availed this opportunity. But, 23rd May was the Wednesday and for many outstation members it was difficult to attend the meeting on week-days. So, the nearest holiday, the 27th May (2007), a Sunday, was selected to launch the Society as well as to release the first issue of Pleione.

There were three main agenda on 27th May meeting:

  • Launching Ceremony for EHSST or TaxoClub
  • Release of the first issue of Pleione; and
  • Celebrating Linnean Birth Tercentenary.

North Bengal University is located in a remote area. Even then, a recognisable crown attended the meeting. The entire program was designed and presented by Prof. AK Pandey. Prof. JVV Dogra presided over the meeting. The EHSST or TaxoClub was formally launched by Prof. AP Das. Dr. LR Shakya and Dr. AA Ansari jointly released the Vol.1, No.1 of Pleione.

A second meeting held after a short lunch break and that was presided over by Dr. RB Bhujel in which Prof. AK Pandey and Prof. AP Das delivered lectures on the life and works of Carolus Linneaus.

Articles published in the First issue of Pleione:

  • Carl von Linne – the Father of Taxonomy. [by: Suchandra R Dutta, Pramodchandra P Harvey and AP Das]
  • A new species of Malaxix Solander ex Swartz (Orchidaceae) from Dolpa, Nepal. [by: Mani R Shrestha, Lokesh R Shakya and Suresh K Gjimire]
  • Lindelofia anchusoides (Lindley) Lehmann (Boraginaceae) and Merremia aegyptia (L.) Urban (Convolvulaceae): two new records for Nepal from Arghakhanchi district. [by: MP Panthi and RP Chaudhary]
  • Diversity and distribution of bamboos in Sikkim. [by: TP Sharma and SK Borthakur]
  • Distribution of Dendrobium species in Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh, India. [by: AK Das and K Chowlu]
  • Use of dye yielding plants by the tribal Tea Garden workers in Terai and Hills of Darjiling. [by: Chandra Ghosh and AP Das]
  • Panchase Forest: an extraordinary place for wild orchids in Nepal. [by: Abiskar Subedi, Nabin Subedi and Ram P Chaudhary]