Botanical name: Saussurea tridactyla Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Snow Lotus was discovered by Bower at an elevation of 19,000 ft. In parts of Sikkim, where Himalayan conditions of climate prevail, we have a completely different class of flora. This where plants like the Snow lotus are found. The snow lotus is a high altitude plant (over 12,000 feet above sea level) with brilliant white flowers appearing over dark green leaves which grow through the rocks of mountain peaks. The flowers form in a dense head of small capitula, often completely surrounded in dense white to purple woolly hairs; the individual florets are also white to purple. The wool is densest in the high altitude species, and aid in thermoregulation of the flowers, minimising frost damage at night, and also preventing ultraviolet light damage from the intense high altitude sunlight. The term Snow Lotus is also used for related species S. involucrata and S. laniceps.
Medicinal uses: The whole plant is harvested in July and August to yield the herb that is used as a tonic for weakness, a therapy for menstrual disorders, and a remedy for arthritis. Due to the harsh environment of the snow lotus and the strong demand for its use in traditional herbalism, the snow lotus has become quite rare. Snow Lotus is native to the Himalayas.
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