Inverse Snow Lotus
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Inverse Snow Lotus
ative Photo: Suresh Rana
Common name: Inverse Snow Lotus
Botanical name: Saussurea inversa    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Saussurea sorocephala var. glabrata

Inverse Snow Lotus is a perennial herb 3-15 cm tall. Caudex simple or branched at ground level. Stem is solitary, 2-5 mm in diameter, erect, simple. Rosette and lower stem leaves are long-stalked. Leaves are narrowly obovate-spoon-shaped, elliptic, or oblong, 1-3 x 0.3-1 cm, both surfaces green but sometimes tinged purple and glabrous or sparsely white cobwebby, base narrow, margin obtusely toothed or entire, tip blunt. Upper stem leaves are stalkless, narrowly triangular-ovate, usually reflexed, both surfaces white and blackish hairy, margin toothed or entire, tip blunt to long-pointed. Flower-heads are 5-15, in a hemispheric cluster 2-4 cm in diameter, stalkless. Involucre is cylindric, 5-6 mm in diameter. Phyllaries are in about 3 rows, membranous, outer phyllaries narrowly elliptic-linear, 8-9 × 1.5-2 mm, densely black and white woolly. Middle and inner phyllaries are obovate-elliptic, 8-9 × 2-3 mm, tip pointed. Receptacle bristles 0.5-1.5 mm. Florets are rose-purple, 7-8 mm, tube 3-4 mm, limb 3.5-4 mm, petals 1.5-2 mm. Seed-pods are brown, cylindric to obconic, 4-5 mm, smooth, hairless. Pappus is mouse-gray to blackish; outer bristles 1-3 mm, reflexed and appressed on achene; inner bristles 7-8 mm. Inverse Snow Lotus is found on alpine scree slopes, alpine meadows, at altitudes of 3700-5400 m, in China, Ladakh and Kashmir. Flowering: July-September.

Identification credit: Suresh Rana, Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Paddar Valley, Jammu & Kashmir.
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