This species came as a total surprise to me, and only because I finally encountered a rhododendron plant with white flowers accessible to me on the ground! All the others had been too high on very tall rhododendron trees.

The rhododendron encounter was absolutely amazing and will be covered in an upcoming post, but when I finally let go of the rhododendron inflorescences I had to check out these amazing clusters of this species growing around the rhododendron. It was the first and only encounter of this species during my stay in Bhutan, and I am happy I did take the necessary time to find a specimen to photograph.

They were growing on moist and unstable soil by north-facing creek, and I had a very tough time finding a stable foothold for me and the tripod as the soil flaked off or simply slid down the slope when I stepped on it. The ground was, as is very often the case in Bhutan, full of tracks from herbivores but my shoes made much more damage than those four-legged animals had done. At this altitude these would likely be domestic yaks and cattle, but gorals and other wild herbivores also roam these slopes. Yet these flowers were left alone, but the grasses around them eaten down to the soil, indicating that this plant is either foul tasting or poisonous to them.

Elevation: 2834 meters

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