Plants in Tibet
Rich in wild plant resource, Tibet is just like a giant plant kingdom, with more than 5,000 species of high-grade plants. Most of the plants in Tibet are distributed in southeast Tibet, like Medog, Chayu, Luoyu and Menyu. Tibet is also one of China's largest forest areas, preserving intact primeval forests.
Almost all the main plant species from the tropical to the frigid zones of the northern hemisphere are found here. Forestry reserves exceed 2.08 billion cubic meters and the forest coverage rate is 9.84 percent. Common species include Himalayan pine, alpine larch, Pinus yunnanensis, Pinus armandis, Himalayan spruce, Himalayan fir, hard-stemmed long bract fir, hemlock, Monterey Larix potaniniis, Tibetan larch, Tibetan cypress and Chinese juniper. There are about 926,000 hectares of pine forest in Tibet. Two species, Tibetan longleaf pine and Tibetan lacebark pine, are included in the listing of tree species under state protection.
Many plants in Tibet have medicinal value. There are more than 1,000 wild plants used for medicine, 400 of which are medicinal herbs most often used. Particularly well known medicine plants include Chinese caterpillar fungus, Fritillaria Thunbergii, Rhizoma Picrorhizae, rhubarb, Rhizoma Gastrodiae, pseudo-ginseng, Codonopsis Pilosula, Radix Gentiane Macrophyllae, Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae, glossy ganoderma, and Caulis Spatholobi.
In addition, there are over 200 known species of fungi, including famous edible fungi songrong, hedgehog hydnum, zhangzi fungus, mush rooms, black fungi, tremellas and yellow fungi. Fungi for medical use include tuckahoes, songganlan, stone-like omphalias.
The best place to study the various plants of Tibet is Nyingchi, east Tibet. There is a famous forest known as Lunang Forest which is located at 3,700 meters above sea level, alongside the Sichuan Tibet Highway. The Lunang Forest is made up of bushes, dragon spruces, maple trees and pines. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, just like a brush-and-ink Chinese painting of a serene scene with far snow mountains, glaciers, primitive forest, villages and rivers nearby. Due to Nyingchi's relatively lower altitude, most tourists travelling to Tibet also first fly to Nyingchi at first and then travel to Lhasa.