India is a very large landmass that ranges from the high Himalayas in the north to the tropics in the south. India is home to many unique flowers and plants. The alpine meadows of the Himalayas are legendary for the number and varieties of flowers that bloom in the spring. However, India's best-known native flower is the lotus.
Himalayan Musk Rose
Himalayan musk rose is a single-flowered wild rose that grows on low bushes and vines in the northern hills of India between 4,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation. The fragrant flowers of this plant have 5 petals and measure from 1 to 1-1/2 inches across. The stems of these roses have many thorns. The leaves of this plant are oval shaped with fine-edged teeth and pointed tips. After the flowers die back, they are replaced by a fruit called a rose hip. Rose hips are very high in vitamin C and are used in Indian medicine and to make Indian herbal teas. Some people make the rose hips from the Himalayan musk rose into marmalade.
Vatsanabha is an erect herb that grows to around 7 feet tall. The bluish purple flowers of this plant are helmet -like and have a short, sharp beak. The flowers grow in spirals on a long receptacle. Vatsanabha grows in the high alpine areas of the Himalayas at an altitude of between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. Although used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine, this plant is extremely poisonous, with 1/10 of a grain of the dried root of this plant being toxic to a goat. Aside from medicinal uses, this plant was used for arrow poison in the past.
The lotus is the national flower of India and, like many other Indian flowers, has functions in Ayurvedic medicine. Growing in water with large, round pad-like leaves, lotus flowers range in size from a few inches to as much as 10 inches, depending on the variety. The petal shapes of these flowers range from wide, elegant curves to thin, narrow spikes. Most lotuses are pink, but some are white and others fade from pink to white along the length of the petal. The lotus is sacred to the Buddhists and Hindus and is sometimes called the kamal or the padma. Lotus seeds and roots are delicacies and are often used in fine Indian cuisine.