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‘ One can never get lost on the path of truth’

This is what he believed in all his life. To impart knowledge was like a religion to him and his passion to share set him apart from this world. His knowledge was his God and the quest for it, his religion.

Professor Somdeva Sharma was born in 1925 in Ajmer, India to illustrious parents who were very much part of the freedom struggle in India. Much of his early childhood was spent in Churiala, a village in Uttranchal, living the life of what every child would dream-being one with nature. He was often found sleeping in the barn with the cows, probably missing his mother who died when he was only four. His father Pt. Barumal Sharma was usually in and out of British Jails along ith his other patriots of the Congress Party, and so Prof. Somdeva was brought up by his uncle Justice J. D. Sharma.

He grew up to be the only person to take up Botany in his family of eminent lawyers & judges. His excursions to the Himalayas to study some of the rarest and endangered species was a quest. One particular plant among them is in the UN redbook of endangered plants, Eremostachys superba was collected by him during one of his excursions. This was nothing less than any spiritual experience for him. His field books are a narration and his observations not only of the plant he collected but a complete anthropological study of that region. It was really amazing to know how he would stay with tribals of that region following their customs and learning from them about various plants.


He also had some local volunteers to collect plants for him and learn the subject from him. He would teach them ways to press plants and how to record their findings in a similar field book he carried. Prof. Somdeva passed away on 29th January 2005, leaving behind a vast legacy in the form of his personal Herbarium with about 20,000 specimens which he collected over a period of 50 years mostly from the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas, the Shivaliks and Doon Valley, Haridwar and Rishikesh. He also left behind 100’s of illustration and two unfinished books on Bamboos and Grasses. This is undoubtedly the largest private collection in India. Herbarium Somdeva , housed in simple surroundings at his residence 13, Balbir Avenue is a National resource his last wishes was that it be put to good use for the scientific community and the Nation as a whole. His residence also has many rare plants and orchids growing in the garden he so much loved. His home was an open house to all researchers, students and enthusiasts who would come in search for plant information from all over the world. His taxonomic knowledge was so amazing that he could close his eyes, touch the bark of a tree and identify the tree, its species and habitat. He was among the very few who were known internationally for his deep knowledge in taxonomy.

Prof Somdeva in his long and illustrious teaching and research career of 40 years in which he has taught and inspired students who deeply grieve his passing away and would like to keep his name and dedication to plant sciences alive.

Prof. Somdeva would have been 80 Years on 23rd March 2005.  As fate would have it, this was not ordained. This website is dedicated to him and his selfless work and contribution to the world of plants on his 80th birthday. This website is a tribute to his memory which will form a living community of like minded taxonomists and nature lovers worldwide who are interested in the area of his work.