Botanical name: Saussurea obvallata Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
The Brahma Kamal, the much reverred flower of the Himalayas, is an excellent example of plant life at the upper limit of high mountains (3,000-4,600 m). The flowerheads are actually purple, but are enclosed in layers of greenish-yellow, papery, boat-shaped bracts. The flowers bloom at the height of the monsoons and abundant in high-altitude places like The Valley of Flowers. The bract-cover provides the warm space needed to bloom in the cold mountains. The flowers are used as offering in the hill temples, like the shrines of Badrinath. The thick curved root of the plant is applied to bruises and cuts, as part of local medicine. Brahma Kamal is the state flower of Uttarakhand. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.
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