China's Flora Tour: Touch the sky, the colorful poppy in the Himalayas
By Zhao Ying

On the frigid meadow of the Baima snow mountains in southwest China's Yunnan Province, Himalayan poppies exhibit amazing colors for brave explorers. Their bright colors, mostly in blue and purple, are meant to make themselves stand out on the meadows and alpine scree slopes, enabling pollinators to easily find them.

These beautiful flowers under the genus Meconopsis usually take years to flower and bloom only once in a lifetime. The thorns on the edge of its leaves and stems prevent animals from biting the plant. The plant is also a precious Tibetan medicine for the treatment of liver diseases.

Currently, there are 79 Meconopsis species in the world, and 80 percent of them are found in China, mostly on the Himalayas and Hengduan mountains. The abundant varieties of Meconopsis owes to the rapid uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in ancient times. The Himalayan poppy is a witness of all the changes taking place on the plateau.

China's Flora Tour

From the wetlands along the coast to the dense rainforests hidden in the southwest of China, all boast an array of plant species. In this series, we will go on a tour to learn about some of the most representative flora in different provinces and see how they live in harmony with the local geography and climate.

(Cover image provided by CGTN Nature film crew, designed by CGTN's Jia Jieqiong.)

(Video provided by CGTN Nature film crew, edited by CGTN's Zhao Ying.)

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