Some Past Tours
May 23, 2019
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Some Past Tours2

ISU Group Botanical Tour, Late June – Early July

A group from The International Hardy Plant Union (ISU) in North Sikkim getting started for a botanizing day.

A slope with many plants of Meconopsis paniculata in bloom. The area was also scattered with population of Swertia hookeri which were about six to seven feet tall.

An alpine meadow with Primula sikkimensis. At a little earlier time of the year, the same meadow would be covered with purple flowering Primula calderiana. In the same area, we also did find a good population of Meconopsis simplicifolia. Me and my co-guide, just happy to be there.

Primula sikkimensis

A small grazing field where we stopped our cars to take a closer look at the Pedicularis longiflora.

Pedicularis siphonantha at an elevation of 13,000 ft.

Lilium nanum along with Anaphalis nepalensis var. monocephala.

At an elevation of almost 13,000ft, it is the end of the tree line. After the snow had melted, the alpine slopes and meadows had come to life with flowers in different shades. It was impossible to walk without stepping on them. Picture shows Rhododendron lepidotum in bloom with pink Pidicularis siphonantha covering the background.

Yume-Samdong is a valley grazed by yaks and their nomadic shepherds, it is rugged and vegetation free and one can stop for a hot water spring bath just below the snow clad peaks, which is renowned for their medical properties.

Rheum nobile growing along side Meconopsis horridula and Rhododendron setosum.

At 14,000 ft, it was even difficult to bend down and focus the plants while capturing the pictures. It is a delight to see how such delicate plants survive such harsh conditions. Meconopsis horridula.

Rheum nobile and the hot spring in the valley behind. After tracking the area, it was a perfect way to relax by taking a dip in the hot spring before returning back.

Primula primulina

Some one spotted a Cardiocrinum giganteum, so it was time to go off-track once again.

There it was, the giant lily standing about ten feet tall, much taller than me. There were many more in the area at an elevation around 10,000 ft.

It was very well spotted by Johan, one of the group member, Cypripedium elegans amid juniper bushes and ferns.

Cypripedium himalaicum growing on open and windy slopes.

Rheum nobile is edible, occasionally collected by the locals whenever they climb the high mountains. It is cooked and eaten as a normal vegetable, used as salad and even pickled. After taking a bite, I would say it had a pleasant sour taste.

Cyananthus incanus and my co-guide Biswas.

An excellent habitat with a big colony of Saussurea obvallata.

Saussurea obvallata.