There are thousands of species of exotic and beautiful plants growing in the Himalayas. The following article gives an overview.
There are thousands of species of beautiful and exotic plants growing in the Himalayas which are admired by botanists globally. Estimates put the total number at approximately 1,900. Of these 1,900 plants, many are specific only to the Himalayas and many are used for medicinal purposes.
The harsh and difficult environment in the Himalayas which includes freezing temperatures, low levels of oxygen and strong winds means that plant life typically grows fairly close to the land and has a short growing season.
When discussing which plants grow in the Himalayas (and also the presence of animal life), it is useful to use the frameworks which incorporate the idea of four different climatic zones.
The four climatic zones used to define the Himalayas help to understand the type of plants (and also animals) which might be growing in the different areas.
The climatic zones in the Himalayas are positively linked to altitude. Oxygen levels are a key factor in altitude and therefore plays a key role in plant or animal growth and presence.
Plant Growth in the Himalayas – The First Climatic Zone
The first climatic zone (and hence the lowest) is home to forests and plants which typically grow in a forest environment. These plants include pine and fir trees, bamboo plants and rhododendrons.
Plant Growth in the Himalayas – The Second Climatic Zone
The second climatic zone is slightly higher and is home to alpine scrub and related plants. Plants and vegetation in this area also includes shrubs and bushes.
Plant Growth in the Himalayas – The Third Climatic Zone
The third slightly higher climatic zone is still home to alpine scrub, but this zone contains far more limited plant and vegetation growth such as lichen and moss. As mentioned above, the harsh conditions of the Himalayas mean that plants grow closer to the ground as altitude increases.
Plant Growth in the Himalayas – The Fourth Climatic Zone
The fourth climatic zone covers the peaks in access of 1800 feet and due to the permanent presence of ice and snow this terrain is practically uninhabitable and plant life is almost non existent.