Mongolians divide their land into three main landscapes – the Gobi, Tal and Khangai (desert, steppe and mountain). But the Khangai are also one of the three main mountain chains in Mongolia – a vast region of high rolling green mountains, forest and alpine meadow steppe and giving give rise to Mongolia’s major rivers. The diversity of plant life in Mongolia is shaped largely by the complex geography of the land. V.I Grubov (a renowned expert on Mongolian flora) divided the country into 16 plant-geographical regions each defined by its own characteristic composition of landscape and vegetation. For this weeks Tuesday’s Snapshot we’re sharing some of the wild flowers of Mongolia’s Khangai Mountains.
Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis)
This flower grows in July and can be found with the high mountain to steppe zone. It also grows within marshy and steppe meadow, alongside river and stream banks and within larch forest glade. The roots and flowers are used to treat diarrhoea and to suppress bleeding.
Yellow Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla flavescens)
This perennial herb flowers towards the end of May and into June. You will find it growing on steppe hillsides and within meadows. In traditional Mongolian medicine, the roots are used for treating scurvy, broken bones and diarrhoea.
The Asian Globeflower (Trollius asiaticus)
Flowers from June until July in meadow, by forest edges, and within forest glades. It is called Asian Globeflower as it only grows in Asia. In traditional Mongolian medicine, the flowers are boiled to make tea to treat angina and mixed with other plants to apply to open cuts to help scabs form.
Alpine Aster (Aster aplinus) – seen here with a beautiful Globe Thistle
Flowers in July to August within high mountain and forest-steppe. It can also be found on rocky, gravel mountain slopes and within meadows and larch forest. In traditional Mongolian medicine, flowers are used to treat low body temperature.
Edelweiss (Leontopodium ochroleucum)
Edelweiss can be found in August on the dry steppe. In ancient Mongolia, it was used to make a footpad for boots to help treat low blood pressure.
When visiting Mongolia, please remember that its natural environment and habitat are fragile. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (https://lnt.org/) has put together The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace – an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Each Principle covers a specific topic and provides detailed information for minimizing impacts and two can apply when visiting meadows of wildflowers in Mongolia.
This focuses on moving through natural areas while avoiding damage to the land (or waterways). Travel damage occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond recovery. The wet meadows filled with wildflowers of Mongolia’s Khangai Mountains can quickly show the effects of trekking. As a general rule, if there is no trail, you should spread out to avoid creating paths that encourage others to follow.
This includes avoid damaging plants. From the Leave No Trace website:
‘Picking a few flowers does not seem like it would have any great impact and, if only a few flowers were picked, it wouldn’t. But, if every visitor thought “I’ll just take a few,” a much more significant impact might result. Take a picture or sketch the flower instead of picking it.’
For more on our Responsible Travel philosophy and how you can take part in a bigger travel philosophy – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/responsible-tourism-mongolia/
Jess @ Eternal Landscapes