Brahmakamal (Saussurea Obvallata)

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Shivani Azad, October 11, 2020: The Times of India

Brahmakamal is Uttarakhand’s state flower and blooms mid-monsoon
From: Shivani Azad, October 11, 2020: The Times of India

Changing weather patterns are likely causing Brahmakamal — a rare flower that grows at elevations between 3,500-4,800 meters — to bloom off-season in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district while low tourist activity and resultant lack of pollution may have led the plant to be seen in lower altitudes in another part of the state.

Brahmakamal (Saussurea Obvallata) is Uttarakhand’s state flower which blooms during mid-monsoon (July-August). This year, however, a team of forest officials in Rudraprayag that had gone on highaltitude patrolling in the Himalayas found several of the flowers in bloom in October.

As images of the white-hued blossom went viral on social media, it piqued the interest of netizens and scientists alike. Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary’s DFO Amit Kanwar, who shot the photos in Nandi Kund in Chamoli district, said this may have been the result of changing weather patterns. “There was sufficient snowfall this year as opposed to previous years and the snow melted late as well.”

Experts said that in Pithoragarh district this year, the flower was spotted blooming even at lower altitudes of 3,000 meters. Brijesh Singh, a local conservationist, said absence of tourist activity during lockdown helped lessen pollution, which could have led the flowers to expand their territory.

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