Owing to its unique geographic environment, Nyingchi is a treasure for plant species among which many are of high economic and medical values. It never lacks bizarre and amazing trees, blossoms or vines. The numerous vines constitute a huge net tangled with the trees. And many pretty orchids are blossoming on the tree trunk that forms “a garden in the sky”.
The Tree that Glitters at Night
Called by the Menba People “Binamaixin”, the tree is no different from other trees in the daytime. But when it falls dark, its leaves start to glitter like there being countless fireflies on them. The special deep green tree leaf is like a palm in size and peach in shape; on its back there scatter eight to nine sparkling spots. The light red seeds (as big as a green bean), growing at the back of the leaves with bitter and sour tastes, can be used as medicine to give one lasting life according to the book of Shanhaijing.
The Chili Tree
It blossoms and bears hot and spicy fruits in the wintertime. The five years old tree can be two meters high and its trunk may be as big as a human arm.
The King in the Woods- the Banyan Tree
A local plant can “strangle” other big trees and takes their place. The strangling process occurs like this: birds eat the seed of the banyan and later shit the seeds off on the trunk or branches of other trees. In the springtime the seeds start to grow out numerous roots, which embrace the tree that it is on. The banyan root system develops so rapidly that it will finally “swallow” the tree trunk like a python taking its prey. Therefore people call the banyan tree “the King in the Woods”.
The Apple Banyan Tree
The tree can be over 10 meters in height with a trunk diameter of more than 20 cm. Both its stem and leaves secrete some milky juice and its bark is smooth and grey in color. The banyan normally has a very sizable tree crown and each banyan leaf is about 10 to 25 cm long and 6 to 13 cm wide with plenty of buds on the back. Most interestingly the fruits (4 to 6 cm in diameter) grow on the short stick of its old branches. In the ripening time, the green fruit will finally turn deep purple. People call this marvelous spectacle “old branch yields fruit”.
The Oil Melon
It is a sort of hard wooden vine with lots of branches. The yellow and green oval melon is about one kg and has a diameter of 20 cm. Its hard outer meat is as white as milk and the inner meat orange. Each melon has 8-12 seeds that contain 71 % to 77 % of oil. Rich in fat and high protein the oil is fragrant and crystal clear. Its root can be used as medicine to heal chronicle illness or for sterilization.
The Water Kettle Vine
It is a sort of very large vine that contains plenty of water. When you feel thirsty in the woods, the warmhearted local people will cut off the vine branch and get the juice for you, which is a kind of excellent natural beverage.
The Shy Grass
There is a sort of special grass called shy grass in the canyon whose leaves will get closed when touched. It is like a timid girl who will flush before strangers.
The Shy Flower
Called Erliaomeiduo in Tibetan, the shy flower looks like a timid lady whose face turns red when she meets a stranger or boy.