The place was little known to outside world due its inaccessibility. In 1931, Frank S. Smythe, Eric Shipton and R.L. Holdsworth, all British mountaineers, lost their way while returning from a successful expedition to Mt.Kamet and happened upon the valley, which was full of flowers. They were attracted to the beauty of the area and named it the "Valley of Flowers." Frank Smythe later authored a book of the same name. In 1939, Joan Margaret Legge,(21 February 1885 - 4 July 1939) a botanist deputed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew,arrived at the valley to study flowers and while traversing some rocky slopes to collect flowers, she slipped off and lost her life.Her sister later visited the valley and erected a memorial near the spot. Prof. Chandra Prakash Kala, a botanist deputed by the Wildlife Institute of India, carried out a research study on the floristics and conservation of the valley for a decade, beginning in 1993.He made an inventory of 520 alpine plants exclusively growing in this national park and authored two important books - "The Valley of Flowers - Myth and Reality" and "Ecology and Conservation of the Valley of Flowers National Park, Garhwal Himalaya.