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Flora and Fauna of Tibet

The mountainous slopes of Tibet are home to many dozens of plants and flowers, but you should resist the temptation to pick them. On the south slope of Middle Himalayas and southeast Tibet, the abundance center of Tibetan flower plants extends from 3500m alt. to the alpine zone. Many forms of flowers ornamented the background of meadows, thickets and dark coniferous forests. The typical species are; Primula cawdoriana, bluish purple; P. sinoplantagines var. fengxiangiana, purple; Cyananthus lobatus, blue-violet; Saxifraga spp., yellow; Polygonum griffithii; Meconopsis horridula var. racemosa, bluish; M. Integrifolia, yellow; Pedicularis bella, rddish purple; P. fletcherii, white.

The distribution of Tibet’s wild flowers is rather extensive. They are in different positions and environments which the following changes are identified: the series of moisture from arid and semiarid to semimoist and moist; the series of temperature from alpine frigid zone and frigid-temperate zone to warm-temperate zone and mountain tropical zone; the vegetation types from semimoist coniferous and broadleaved deciduous forests to rain forests, from frigid-temperate coniferous forests to tropical forests, and from scrubs and steppes to meadows and wetlands; as well as the landforms of glacier, desert, dune, highland, valley and gorge.

When you see Incarvillea and Iris on the barren, the multi-colored rhododendrons in the forest or on the slope, and the beautiful orchids-epiphytic or terrestrial, you will be surprised by the powerful potential of life and nature. Meanwhile, the wild flowers of Tibet grow in very different performances. Connected with the extreme conditions at high elevation such as low temperature, strong wind and high radiation, the plants got their morphology of shortening, creeping, cushion, needle shape or hairiness. Compared to low elevation areas, the blossoming time on Tibetan plateau is usually shorter. The middle spring to early summer and the middle summer are the major two flowering phases, with 1/3 and 2/3 flowering species respectively. In the middle, the blossoms of Prunus mira always give the southeastern plateau an obvious scene, which is sometimes repainted by the spring snow. Then follow the rhododendrons of subalpine forests and alpine thickets.

Because of the role of ultra violet, the color of flowers at high elevation is generally deeper than in lowland. Particularly, in Tibet we often see purple and orange flowers. Some of Tibet’s wild flower are used as medicine besides their amazing ornamental to the people. Their extraordinarily excellent effects on the disease don’t only help the Tibetans overcome pains disease through thousands of years, but, nowadays, help Tibetans have their own medicine plants, which produce special medicine with Tibetan wild flowers and contribute the medicines to the world. Some of the wildflowers found in Tibet are as follows. – Aconitum longilobum climbing herbaceous liana. Quiquepartite rotund leaf, cordate base. 3 to 8 flowers, blue purple.

Flowering: Aug. to Sept. Frihygrophiles. Only in the fir forest of Mt. Sergyila , 36 to 4000m, Nyingchi. – Anemone rupicola Perennial, 10 to 20cm tall, with rhizme. Leaf blade cordiform, quinquepartite. White flower,4 to 6cm, June to Aug. Most tendency, cold and poorness tolerance. South to southeast Tibet , 3300 to 4200m. – Sorbus rehderiana Little deciduous tree. 3 to 8m high. Odd-pinnate commpound leaf with 7 to 10 pairs of folials. Compound corymb, densely flowered. White flower, pink or red fruit, 6 to 8mm, subovate. Flowering: June to July. Fruiting: Aug to Sept. Cool and nutrient tendency. South and east Tibet , 3300 to 4400 m, dark coniferous forest, valley forest or bush.