Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rhodo’ ‘dendron’ of Sikkim

Rhodo’ ‘dendron’, Greek for ‘Rose’ ‘Tree’, perhaps the most flamboyant of Sikkim’s flowers, blooms in festive bunches right during peak tourist season, tempting even locals to go off on picnics. The 36 species in Sikkim from the State Tree to the tiny shrubby ‘Sunpati’ at higher altitude have many subspecies, varieties and forms. See evolution at work with species naturally hybridizing; and adding to their aesthetic value are other uses in medicine and even beverages. And who would believe our Rhodos are invasive in some parts of the world where they were once introduced as garden plants!? Besides now with changing climate it’s any day now when Songru Pandi (Utis) finally catches up with Kemo Reep (Lali Gurans) for good! Rhododendrons in this series are dedicated to the Sikkim International Rhodofest 2010 and found in and around all Wildlife Protected Areas (WLPAs) of Sikkim, especially Shingba & Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuaries
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