Valley becomes accessible from late April when the snow
starts melting and flowing down the buttrssnes and
gullies. The spring avalanches pouring down the slopes
provide appropriate moisture for flowers. The moist turf
begins to pulsate with life and from the dead herbage of
the previous summer, innumerable shoots of countless
plants rise expectantly as though in anticipation of the
warm life-giving breath of the approaching monsoon.
Premolars cover up shelves and terraces in color of the
most heavenly French blue. Their soft petals covered with
dew, like galaxies of pearls, emanate sweetest of scents.
In the lush meadows drifts of snow-white Anemones drench
the ground. Anaphalles and Potentillas start establishing
their colonies, With the arrival of rains in June, Balsam,
Geranium, Pedicularis and many other species, mostly in
pink and red set the dominating color pattern of the
Valley without subduing other seasonal shades of yellow,
purple and white.
July to the end of August, the Valley begins to take on
celestial dimensions. The riot of colours is
awe-inspiring. The Pedicularis, Grandiflora, Ligularia and
many other yellow varieties dominate, with patterns of ;
other colour blending in. The flowers sway to the rhythm
of the monsoon breeze as it ripples across the slopes and
the atmosphere is filled with an indescribable scent I of
By September, the plants start podding and the Valley dons
tranquil shades of brown. But visitors during I September
and October get to witness the Valley in a crystal clean
atmosphere-the mountain ranges shining like polished steel
in the sunlight, rainwashed rocks with gurgling streams
and sun-kissed meadows about to be covered soon with a
spotless white sheet of snow.
It is often said that the root stock of almost all high
altitude alpine flowers lies in and around the Valley of
Flowers. The oak trees, blue pine and other conifers
between Ghanghria and the bridge on Pushpawati are
sornetirnes laden with ferns and tendrils hanging from
their branches, The forests on the higher formations are
full of birch trees, popularly known as bhojpatra whose
bark was supposedly used to write scriptures in ancient
Although the main land of the Valley is about 4 kms. from
Ghanghria, flowers and foliage in exotic varieties can be
spotted throughout the route. Immediately after crossing
the Laxman Ganga, colonies of blue Hackelia uncinata,
commonly known as 'forget me not' can be seen in the midst
of shrubs and foliage along the roadride. Primulas,
Morinas, wild roses and many other species are quite
On reaching the banks of Pushpawati, a rich formation of
blue poppies, sun flowers, Ligularia and pink Andsosace
can be seen between the rocky stretches near the bridge
abetment. After crossing the rivers, to its right bank,
you can see various flowers in small pockets dotting the
entire distance. Pedicularis in pink and yellow, Phlomis
in purple and Potentilla in all shades can be seen.
Further on, towards the approach of the main Valley, are
gorgeous varieties of wild roses, Rhododendron, Geranium
and the killer plant Polygonum which is at present
off-setting the floral composition of the valley.A large
variety of ferns like Epiphytic, maidenhair and oak fern
can be seen.
The Valley is rich In herbal plants, many of these being
flowering plants - Bergenia, wood lily, Trillium
govanianum and marsh orchid are the popular ones. At
several places, the abundant growth of flowering and
non-flowering plants gives the Valley the look of a thick
carpet with splashes of colour.
A forbiddingly beautiful plant is the Arisaema costatum
popularly known as Arum. Its head resembling that of a
cobra, the plant grows in shady recesses, often in
isolated family groups.
Primulas and Anaphallis give a white background to the
Valley which is accentuated with the varying colours of
other flowers. The violet Iris kumaonesis, the superb
Primula denticuleata in purple and Potentillas in red,
yellow and pink can be seen in colonies.
Along the riverside there are small patches of land
between scattered boulders, which have become the natural
habitat for a majestic flower-the blue poppy. Known as
Meconopsis aculeata to botanists, it is a solitary flower
and has the colour of the sky at dawn. Like most poppies,
it is open and wide, droops slightly, has a centre of
golden stamens, and is so fragile that its petals are
detached merely by brushing against them. It protects
itself with sharp spines arranged on the stem and buds.An
unobstrusive flower with unsurpassable delicacy and grace
is the Fritillaria roylei. As the green bells on the
springy stem nod and dip vivaciously.in the monsoon wind,
you may be tempted to strain your ears to hear their
tinkling. The Corydalis cashemiriana, with narrow
pipe-like stems and flowers tipped in dark blue grow in
colonies of thousands. A plant which is one of the rarest
and the most beautiful of its family-the lily-like
Nomocharis oxypetala revels in the sun on well-warmed,
well drained meadows and slopes of the Valley. The rose-coloured
Cyprip edium himalaicum has earned the popular title of
lady's slipper' and there are so many of these flowers
that they imbue the slopes with a rosy glow.
The pinkish glow of the Valley can be attributed to the
large colonies of Androsace. Marsh orchid. Geranium.
Pediculsris and the carpetting Thymus. all in near pink.
Splashes of golden lily and creamy bell-shaped Codonopsis
are also seen. The pink Pedicularis gives way to its
yellow cousin-the mainstay of the August bloom. Yellow
flowers bedeck the Valley as July proceeds - Pedicularis,
Grandiflora. Ligularia, Saxifraga and Potentillas. The
Potentillas are the first to appear and last to disappear
in the Valley.
The king of the Himalayan flowers is Saussurea obvallata,
popularly known as Brahma Kamal. It is a graceful creamish
flower with brown and red stamens in the centre.
The petals are loosely open, like those of a lotus. A
fully developed flower is six to eight inches tall. This
flower isfound on the higher slopes of the valley which
are not easily accessible. It can be found at heights
above 3,800 mtrs. all over the Central Himalayas.