It was a beautiful sunny day after about a week of intermittent cloud and rain and I took the chairlift up to the cloud walkway in the Cangshan range behind the hostel in Dali.

I discovered a patch of exquisite flowers which I at first thought were terrestrial orchids but was unable to identify them as I don’t have the plant-person’s “bible”, Polunin’s Fowers of the Himalaya, nor any other ID books with me.  It was in a stand of Pinus armandii at about 2,600m.

I was later able to identify it as Roscoea tibetica, from the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, from consulting Jason’s plant ID book and the astute observation of Jan – thanks. It’s quite a common perennial herb which grows 5-15cm under forests or grassland between the elevations of 2100 and 3800m. (I have since seen it growing in grassland by the side of Napahai.)

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