The three most popular flowers in Bhutan

Email

One of these flowers can only be found above 3,700m above sea level.

When you think of Bhutan, you think of vibrant colours. From their costumes to their arts, crafts, and festivals, Bhutan is bathed in lively hues. But it does not stop there because there is a whole world of colourful flora on top of their colourful culture.

Bhutan has pristine forest cover; more than 51% of the country is protected land. So you bet they have some gorgeous flowers to boot.

Of their rich vegetation, there are three flowers that stand out from the rest.

Himalayan Blue Poppy

The blue poppy is the national flower of Bhutan. 

The flower is sometimes referred to as the “blue yeti of Bhutan”, due to its rarity. It grows at an elevation of 3,700 to 4,300 metres above sea level—yes, you’ll have to climb that high for a sighting, and yes, it is very cold up there. The blue poppy can survive extreme conditions, such as freezing weather. 

They are spectacular; their stunning blue petals will have you mesmerised. There are many species of blue poppy—13 can be found in Bhutan—but only the bright blue species is unique to the country. 

There was a time when one particular blue poppy species, the Meconopsis napaulensis, could be found all over Chelela Pass in Paro. Sadly, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, they are now scarce. The society blames this depletion on the plundering by people from neighbouring districts, who help themselves to the flowers, leaving behind small holes where the flowers used to be. 

As a result of the irresponsible behaviour, this species is at risk of extinction from the area. Lay people can’t tell between the different species, so they just assume it’s a blue poppy from its colour, but you can actually differentiate the different types of the blue poppy from the shape of its leaves, the seed pod, or the filament.

To see a blue poppy, you’re going to have to do some trekking. They can be found in Haa, Merak, and Sakteng during the blooming period of late May to June. One place to enjoy the flower is Laya village. 

Rhododendrons

There are approximately 49 species of rhododendrons in Bhutan. 

This includes the rare Rhododendron pogonophyllum species. A Scottish plant collector named George Sherriff was the first person to record this elusive flower on 7th June 1937, at Wangdue Phodrang. 

The Bhutanese love the rhododendron, regarding it as a symbol of pure and divine beauty. You can tell this from the way they feature the flower in their art and songs. 

Bhutan even has a Rhododendron Festival, which aims to celebrate the rhododendron flower. The event is held for three days every May at the Royal Botanical Park in Lamperi. The festival features a rhododendron garden walk, as well as a display of the local culture, cuisine, arts and crafts, traditional games, cultural programmes, guided walks, and other activities. You’ll get to enjoy the different species of rhododendrons at full bloom in their natural habitat.

You may find rhododendron flowers all over Bhutan, from the city to the countryside. Many temples and monasteries grow the flowers in their compounds.

If you wish, the road approaching Mongar spots beautiful green pastures dotted with the bloom of rhododendrons. 

Alternatively, stop to admire the rhododendron flowers on the road to Taschichho Dzong at the edge of Thimphu.

The blooming season of the rhododendrons in Bhutan lasts from April to July. Some species bloom earlier than the rest, and some finish a few weeks after the others. 

Orchid

There are 17,500 species of orchids in the world, and 100 to 400 are being discovered every year. In Bhutan alone, there are 487 species of (recorded) orchids, one of the richest orchid habitats in the world. Out of this large number, 82 species of orchids are endemic to the country. 

In 2020, Bhutan recorded two new orchid species, the Chiloschista densiflora and Chiloschista himalaica. 

Chiloschista densiflora has yellowish flowers with brown spots and a dense flowered inflorescences, which gave it its name. It can be found in Trongsa and Zhemgang.

Meanwhile, the Chiloschista himalaica was named after its original habitat in the Himalayas. This species is found in Chhukha, Haa, Samdrupjongkhar, and Zhemgang.

Through the establishment of Tse-rim orchid Sanctuary at Rimchu in Punakha, Bhutan has spearheaded efforts to conserve wild orchids.

Furthermore, a species called Cymbidium hookerianum (referred to locally as Ola Choto), is a delicacy in Bhutanese cuisine.

The chairman of Orchid Specialist Group, Mr. Udai C. Pradhan, thinks that Bhutan’s wide habitat of orchids can provide jobs for the youth of Bhutan. For one, they could use seed and tissue culture to produce orchid plantlets, the seedlings of which are then distributed to the youth, who can then utilise it for commercial purposes.

Thus, this strategy would not just conserve the species, but also the mother of many hybrids, and promote culinary specialities that can attract tourists throughout the year.

Thus you don’t just get to admire the flowers with your eyes. Now, you get to eat them too!



Related Posts

Takin: Bhutan's national animal looks like something out of a...

The takin looks like a goat with a sheep’s body. It is so queer-looking that it has been described as a Dr Seuss...

Apr 23, 2022 20:51

Bhutan's national parks and wildlife sanctuaries

Bhutan is a green country with a rich environment, magnificent mountains, beautiful landscapes, and rich wildlife and...

May 05, 2021 12:16

Bhutanese actor raise awareness on climate change by cycling...

Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk launched The Messenger: Ride for Action, planting trees and talking to everybody.

Nov 25, 2022 15:18

Cordyceps Sinensis, the super mushrooms of Bhutan

Cordyceps Sinensis has many health benefits, which includes being an aphrodisiac.

Sep 25, 2022 16:50

The King of Bhutan regularly visits his people

The royals of Bhutan have an honourable legacy. Visiting their people is part of it.

Sep 25, 2022 16:35

Here is what you need to know about tailoring in Bhutan

Bhutan continues to train tailors in both traditional Bhutanese tailoring and western dressmaking.

Aug 28, 2022 21:56

Latest

News

Progress on Bhutan's Sustainable Low Emission Urban Transport System Project

Bhutan now has 200 electric vehicles on the road, with another hundred to be dispatched very soon.

Nov 29, 2022 18:13

Translation of His Majesty's Address to the Nation at the 8th Session of the Third Parliament

His Majesty delivered the Royal Address on the Opening Ceremony of the 8th Session of the Third Parliament, 4th November, 2022.

Nov 05, 2022 15:23

Features

Bhutanese actor raise awareness on climate change by cycling through Bhutan

Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk launched The Messenger: Ride for Action, planting trees and talking to everybody.

Nov 25, 2022 15:18

Cordyceps Sinensis, the super mushrooms of Bhutan

Cordyceps Sinensis has many health benefits, which includes being an aphrodisiac.

Sep 25, 2022 16:50

Business

School in Lhuentse embrace entrepreneurship through Chip Production Unit

Bhutan endeavours to guide their youth towards innovation and creativity. The trickle-down effect has seen Tangmachu Central School’s...

Nov 29, 2022 18:04

The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Sports

More Bhutanese youths are engaged in football

Sitting at the 186th position in the FIFA rankings, Bhutan looks to improve its rankings in the years to come.

Aug 03, 2022 20:19

BOB Bhutan Premier League is coming back soon with a bang

There’s an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation growing in the valleys of Bhutan as football fans in the country await what appears to...

Jul 24, 2022 14:47

Travel

A tale of two airports in Bhutan

As the slow pace towards a pre-pandemic world begins, two of the country’s domestic airports are going through their own challenges and...

Nov 03, 2022 16:30

What you need to know about birdwatching in Bhutan

The best seasons and locations for birdwatching in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Sep 25, 2022 16:57

Lifestyle

Chillies, a spicy affair in Bhutan

The Bhutanese love it hot.

Jun 07, 2022 23:55

Bhutan is traditionally a matriarchal society

Women are the decision-makers at home, but something is keeping them from public life.

May 27, 2022 22:14

COVID-19

A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!