Five Wild Flowers of the Himalayas

Spanning an area of 612,021 square km, the Himalaya Mountain Range is home to an incredibly diverse ecology with flora and fauna that has survived in some of the harshest conditions. Walking the Himalayas, you may come across five of these stunning wild flowers which you’ll find growing along the mountain tracks and valleys:

CYANANTHUS INCANUS

This lovely flower is a member of the Bell flower family that grows in the Himalayas. This short plant stands no more than 10cm tall and has small leaves. Greek for “blue flowers ”, these flowers reveal the bright blue-violet petals that they were named for in August and September. The flowers are 2.5cm in diameter and are funnel or bell-shaped.

GENTIANA SINO-ORNATA

The Showy Chinese Gentian is found throughout the Himalayas. Low growing, the Sino-ornata forms a trailing mat of grass-like foliage over rocky soil with large upright trumpet shaped blossoms. Known for producing incredible shades of blue flowers in late summer and early fall, the Sino-ornata has also been used medicinally in teas and remedies.

PALASH TREE

The Palash, or Butea monosperma, is a flowering tree found in the lower altitudes of the Uttarakhand. It is said that the Palash tree is a form of Agnidev, the God of Fire. As punishment for disturbing Lord Shiva and herself, the goddess Parvati changed him into a tree. The Palash blossoms are about 2.5cm long, and are a vibrant red-orange. The blossoms are used to prepare a traditional colour powder for Holi, a spring festival.

BURAN

Burans, or rhododendron, also blooms in early spring along the valleys of the Uttarakhand. These hardy blossoms spread their colour at an altitude above 2,450m making a striking sight against the snow and blue sky panorama. Medicinally, the Buran is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

MARSH MARIGOLDS

Marsh Marigolds, or Caltha palustris, cover the Valley of Flowers. A “U” shaped valley formed by glaciers, the floor of the valley has become covered in flowers and plants that have learned to survive in the harsh conditions. The Marsh Marigold, a cousin to the buttercup, can grow up to 80cm with small yellow flowers 2-5cm in diameter. All parts of the plant are poisonous and excessive handling can cause contact dermatitis or skin rashes.

Photo by: Himalaya, Redlinx

 
 

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