00Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Edgew., Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 20: 76 1846. (Syn: Aplotaxis obvallata DC.; Carduus tectus Wall. [Invalid]; Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Sch.Bip.; Saussurea obvallata Wall. [Illegitimate]);
 — named for Nicolas-Theodore de Saussure, Swiss chemist and … 
Dave’s Botanary
ob-val-LAY-ta or ob-val-LAH-ta — surrounded; guarded or enclosed … Dave’s Botanary
commonly known asbrahmakamal • Bengaliব্রহ্ম কমল brahma kamal • Gujaratiબ્રહ્મકમળ brahmakamal • Hindiब्रह्म कमल brahma kamalkonkapfu • Kannadaಬ್ರಹ್ಮಕಮಲ brahmakamala • Teluguబ్రహ్మ కమలం brahma kamalam • Tibetansah-du goh-ghoo 
Native to
: s-w China, India (Himalaya), n Myanmar


Saussurea obvallata is a species of flowering plant native to the Himalayas and Uttar Pradesh, India, Northern Burma and South-West China. In Himalayas, it is found at an altitude of around 4500 m.[1]

It is the state flower of Uttarakhand.[2]
Saussurea obvallata is a Perennial growing to 0.3 m (1 ft). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Local name of this flowers is Brahmakamal, Kon and Kapfu.
The plant is considered an herb in Tibetan medicine. Its name is ཤཟའ བདྭད མཤ དཤྭ (Sah-du Goh-ghoo). It has a bitter taste. The entire plant is used. It is endangered because people are cutting it down for their own use. It is found in the region of the Himalayas. It is also used to cure uro-genital disorders.
(From  Wikipedia on 9.6.13)



May 18, “Fascination of Plants Day”: Saussurea obvallata from Kedarnath area: Attaching picture of Saussurea obvallata or the Brahm Kamal the state flower of Uttarakhand. To capture this beauty I along with my team members had to make a steep climb of Vasu ki tal from Kedarnath at an altitude of more than 3800 m. It was raining and the whole route was slippery but finally when we saw the flower in wild we totally forgot all our tiredness and remoteness of the place where we reached. But it was pitty that this flower been plucked from wild by local people and sold in Kedarnath area for Rupees 15/- and is ruthlessly been plucked from the wild just to make God happy!



Photographs of Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Cactaceae) and Saussurea obvallata (Asteraceae):  I am in need of good photographs of Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Cactaceae) and Saussurea obvallata (Asteraceae) with permission for use in any write up . I request the willing members to share the photographs.

Here are two pics of Saussurea obvallata.
Pics were taken at 4200m asl on the other side of Hemkunt Sahib lake in Utttarakhand.


VoF Week: Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Edgew from the way of Hemkund Sahib District Chamoli Uttarakhand:

Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Edgew
From near Hemkund Sahib (about 4000 mts height)

Called as Brahmakamal or Sacred Lotus. This is small herb endangered now blooms from July to September in the Area. This year Brahma kamal was there in plenty and we could see thousands of Plants of it. But none was found in VoF

This was my prime motive for VoF trip and see the destiny I couldn`t complete that for this pure beauty, due to my health probelm. But I am sure that I would see it to capture it next year. We shall plan VoF every year.

VOF Week: Saussurea obvallata (Bramhakamal) at Hemkund Saheb:  Sharing few photographs of Saussurea obvallata commonly known as Bramhakamal.
Location: Hemkund Saheb.

great to be able to take a peak inside the flower

One of your best presentations! Great.

… this is a really nice one? I would like to know how was the aroma / fragrance?


VoF week: Asteraceae – Saussurea obvallata (Candolle) Schultz:

Saussurea obvallata (Candolle) Schultz Bipontinus, Linnaea. 19: 331. 1846.
Aplotaxis obvallata Candolle, Prodr. 6: 541. 1838
Distribution: India, Nepal, China, Bhutan
Current pic taken on the other side of Hemkunt Lake above 4200 masl.

Yes. the second picture I like the best… somehow the grey foggy background ,,, gives an otherworldly feel, Brahmakamal … name becomes a bit more becoming… and fits with a preformed mental image

Third one I liked because u see the temple, pond and the Brahmakamal in one photo.


3 AUG 12
Hemakund – Ghangaria trailabout 13500 – 11000 

Good to see so many uploads of this rarer Himalayan Saussurea.


VOF week Saussurea obvallata 020912_DS_01:  This was the star flower on the way to Hem kund Sahib – one in my wish list for this trip.
None seen on the way to VOF, and plenty on the Hem kund Sahib route.
And this I immediately identified on the spot.
Identifying this sacred flower filled me with immense joy

Amazing … Its great that most of you got good pictures of the Brahmakamal!

this was in plenty this year….

lovely, habitat pic makes this special


Flora Picture of the year- 2012- Rajesh Sachdev: There are few excursions or trips designed to target particular species, let it be birds, butterflies or flora. There is one or more then one species that are in wishlist of such excursions and without which those excursions remain incomplete. When I was designing the Valley of Flowers trip for the joint group of eFI and Indian Flora , I had one such species in my mind as target. And that is not only me most of people who visit VoF have such feeling that they must see that flower. The flower is Brahma Kamal.
Four months of desperation, I realised that I am medically unfit for VoF. Viral fever and lose of weight put me in weak category and doctor declared me unfit for such tough trek. But there were reasons for me to still do it, JUST DO IT. (a) Commitment to 20+ participants and (b) willingness to see my target flower.
On the day one while trekking up from Govind Ghat to Ghanghariya my health collapsed. The trek, for good 13 Kms and uphill, was full of flowers on both sides and I kept on ignoring. Just because my mind was not concentrating on them but on my collapsing health. Day 2 was fine and comparatively better. Thanks to … for supporting me and offering me tablets etc. Day 3 was suppose to be for Hemkund Saheb, the only place where I could have seen Brahmakamal. And on this day again I started feeling uncomfortable. I somehow managed to reach to point from where I could see a flower or two and click them using the maximum zoom from my digital camera. Very blur and dull pic, I could secure. Today, when I have redesigned the VoF tour (in fact 2 tours in June & in August) , that sense of incompleteness is chasing me. That sense is asking me to go and click your beloved flower, more closely and sharply. With god’s blessing today I have better camera and I wish and pray to my god that ” Waheguru ji, give me strength and willpower to complete my mission and photograph my beloved flower . The flower that has Shri Hemkund Saheb in the background and snow clad mountain on either side”.
With this wish, I am presenting my flora (remote) picture of the year 2012 for my beloved Brahma Kamal

Thanks, … It’s great that you completed the trek despite your poor health. Your story is really great & touching. I know how the people really feel after seeing ‘Brahma Kamal’.

It’s akin to seeing the God itself for a moment.

Thanks … for sharing this touching incident. It is great that inspite of your ill health you completed the trek and guided the group successfully. I am sure all your wishes to photograph the Brahmakamal will be fulfilled during the next trek. Thanks for sharing the pics. Though you have clicked them from a distance they look beautiful. I liked them

Nice experience and nice write up. Next time go close to flower and smell it without touching it. You can actually feel the fragrance even 1m away from the actual plant. It is magical and it is very soothing. Somewhere in Vedas its written that offer one flower of Brahma Kamal to god is equivalent to offering 1000 normal fragrant flowers and thats one of the reason why this flower is locally threatened. Its totally extinct from Badrinath area but still it can be found on sale around the temple. Best wishes for next trip. Around Hemkunt, I think you can find 4 species of Saussurea there….

Nice story associated with a prized catch. I have added this to Flora Picture 2012


Asteraceae Week (Part II – Discoid heads) :: Saussurea obvallata at Hemkund Sahib :: 03 AUG 12 :: DV22 : 3 images. 7 posts by 5 authors.
Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Edgew.
so-SUR-ree-a — named for Nicolas-Theodore de Saussure, Swiss chemist andDave’s Botanary
ob-val-LAY-ta or ob-val-LAH-ta — surrounded; guarded or enclosedDave’s Botanary
commonly known as: brahmakamalBhotia: assolone • Hindi: ब्रह्मकमल Brahmakamal, kapfu, kon
Native to: s-w China, India (Himalaya), n Myanmar
References: Flowers of IndiaWikipediaENVIS – FRLHT
along Hemkund Sahib – Ghangaria trail on 03 AUG 12

Lovely plant, lovely place…

Many thanks … Indeed the photos remind me of the pure and pleasant air of Hemkund Sahib.

Nice pictures from high alpine zone of Hemkund. A beautiful area to explore alpine plants. This photo reminds me its specific aroma.
S.obvallata or “Brahm Kamal” is state flower of Uttarakhand.

Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Edgew. [=Aplotaxis obvallata DC.] is state flower of Uttarakhand and found in entire Himalaya in alpine zones.
It is strongly aromatic and offered to different high altitude temples of Lord Shiva and Nandadevi in Uttarakhand.
The photograph is reproduced from my old optical photograph taken in 1996 near Kedarnath.

Sharing few photographs of Saussurea obvallata commonly known as Bramhakamal.
Location: Hemkund Saheb.

Good close ups … Thanks for showing this wonderful plant.

This beautiful alpine plant was shot from near Hemkunt Sahib, during VOF Tour… known as “Brahma Kamal“, this is restricted to very small area in the region..

Hemkund area have considerably large S.obvallata plants. In many other areas this plant does not grow to this size. Beautiful flower and very beautiful pics.

Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Edgew. (Asteraceae), popularly known as “Brahm Kamal” or “Kaunl” in Uttarakhand is a special flowers of entire alpine Himalaya. It is majestic and strongly aromatic. Whenever seen there is always a temptation to take photographs, no matter how many you already have.
To see this gem of Himalaya Bhagwabasa (a place below Roop Kund in Uttarakhand) was one of the best place. It flowers all along the2-3km long trail profusely here. However, this year when we reached the area during Nanda Devi Raj Jat, it was an embarrassing view with all the flowers already plucked by the visitors. I believe thousands of flowers (shoot containing a terminal cluster of inflorescences covered under yellowish bracts) were plucked, millions of seeds wasted! To take this photograph we had to climb difficult rocky area about 500 m upwards of usual trail.

Thanks for sharing this information …
I have seen this near Hemkunt Sahib, but that was largely undisturbed there.. though people were very happy to see and know about this, but none of them was plucking.. may be due to warning boards about “Braham Kamal”…

via Species‎ > ‎S‎ > Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Sch. Bip. … family: Asteraceae
Flowers of India Discussions at efloraofindia more views in flickr more views on Google Earth
so-SUR-ree-a — named for Nicolas-Theodore de Saussure, Swiss chemist and … Dave’s Botanary
ob-val-LAY-ta or ob-val-LAH-ta — surrounded; guarded or enclosed … Dave’s Botanary
commonly known asbrahmakamal • Bengaliব্রহ্ম কমল brahma kamal • Gujaratiબ્રહ્મકમળ brahmakamal • Hindiब्रह्म कमल brahma kamalkonkapfu • Kannadaಬ್ರಹ್ಮಕಮಲ brahmakamala • Teluguబ్రహ్మ కమలం brahma kamalam • Tibetansah-du goh-ghoo
botanical namesSaussurea obvallata (DC.) Sch. Bip. … synonymsAplotaxis obvallata DC. • Saussurea obvallata (DC.) Edgew. … the combination Saussurea obvallata by Schultz Bipontinus preceded the same name by Edgeworth (Trans. Linn. Soc. London 20: 76. Aug 1846) by one month … Flora of China
This is the State Flower of two states: Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal (brahma kamal, Hindi: ब्रह्म कमल).

Wonderful photo …

nice photograph and  list of indian names Re the Bangla script: I tried typing the correct Bangla script, but failed, i tried several font sets but no luck…
so what you have written it up as is the only alternative for the time being…
i found one ad for a novel i guess called Brahmakamal in Bengali and its photograph,
I screen captured the title in Bangla script and sending it in just so  if someone knows
how to type that and has fonts to duplicate the spelling shown, they can tell us
the url for the screen capture is given for their copyrights, I am using their image for editorial purpose only.

… something must have gone wrong while I copy-pasted the content. Many thanks for bringing this error to notice. I will be careful next time.
The unicode characters have renndered properly at Names of Plants in India page – ব্রহ্ম কমল brahma kamal

Oh good but in microsoft word symbols using their fonts i was not able to type this joined letters

wonder how you did it? any specific font set? name please

While typing the characters, you must have missed one character “virama”

Typing sequence for getting the word Brahma would be … bô VIRAMA rô hô VIRAMA mô
I find typing unicode in Microsoft’s to be cumbersome compared to getting it done using from some online keyboard.
Try one at http://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/bengali.htm
Click on the characters to get them in the top box.
Then it is mere copy-paste of the those characters from the top box to your application (MS Word or in webmail editor)
Attached is a screenshot, hopefully it helps.
Attachments (1)

you are fantastic. yes that worked ব্রহ্মকমল
i did this on the link you sent
works well. I’ll book mark it
I wondered if  they have other scripts like Sanskrit and Gujarati too? and LOL they do

Posting some beautiful pics of Saussurea obvallata seen at Hemkund, Uttarakhand in Aug 2018 as my concluding post.
A list of all the plants that have been identified (most of them identified on this forum) is provided in the attached excel.
I saw around 142 different species of plants (identified). There are still possibly some 25 species which are not yet identified. Hoping to get them identified.
Thanks for all the experts who provided ID help on my posts and all the others whose posts helped me to identify some species on my own


Brahmakamal: Please see the link in flickr: flickr

    One is the cabbage like flower which is the real Brahmakamal found in the Himalayas and in Valley of Flowers. The other is found in the plains, and is probably a cactus flower, I am not sure. Saussurea obvallata is used for both the flowers. What are the botanical name of the two?

Saussurea obvallata is the Himalayan plant, which is called Brahma Kamal – I would call it the real Brahma Kamal.  flowersofindia
The other one is a cactus, native to South America, most likely Epiphyllum oxypetalum. It is grown as a houseplant in many parts of India. I would love to know how it came to be called Brahmakamal in Maharashtra. That seems to be a recent development.

There is a slok in sanskrit which says, offering a single brahmakamal to god is equivalent to offering 1000 flowers. I am eagerly waiting for someone to share this slok as it is planned to be a part of one of our articles on this plant. This is referred to Saussurea obvallata which is highly fragrant. You can smell it from a distance. Even the leaves have smell and it is found on higher altitudes.
These pictures were taken on the other side of Hemkunt lake (which is a forbidden zone for tourists). In the third pic on the backgroun id the lake and the famous Sikh pilgrim place called Hemkunt Sahib. In the link provided by ..  sir, there is infact one Saussurea obvallata rest are cactus, Epiphyllum oxypetalum.

– In Souther india Epiphyllum oxypetalum is regarded as the Brahma kamal, though Saussurea obvallata is supposed to be the real brahma kamal. I have one in my house, which would flower during the hot
summer (mostly May) during night.

– I’ll add to your confusion (and mine)…
The so called real Brahma Kamal Saussurea obvallata is only one of the pictures in the flicker group labeled as Brahma Kamal….
   The rest of the pictures in the flicker group are a plants group that I know of as NITE BLOMMING CEREUS….
One of which is Epiphyllum oxypetalum..I had one growing in my apartment, dining room table in NY, from a cutting from THE HIMALAYAN INSTITUTE in Pennsylvania…  where it apparently had some spiritual meaning to the core group of devotees of Swami Rama, who would stay up thru the nite when one bud was about ready to open, being a full moon nite in summer (its bat pollinated, and being white it is best to open during a bright nite , I guess)…they did not call it Brahma Kamal though.. and this is the one found in Southern Indian states and called there.. brahma kamal.. and is photographed the most and published in the flicker group ….

   Other nite blooming cereus I have seen in botanical gardens is the one called Hylocereus undatus (Red Pitaya or dragon fruit) ..very similar flowers but stems are different and growing habits etc and seeds are different sizes and numbers in fruits of epiphyllum oxypetalum.
There are several other plants with similar flowers which bloom at nite… and are called nite blooming cereus…wikipedia has a short list at :
And I  QUOTE FROM IT “(( Night-blooming cereus, also called Queen of the night or Reina de la noche, are names of several genera and species of nightblooming cactus, including:
* Echinopsis, e.g. E. pachanoi (San Pedro Cactus)
* Epiphyllum, e.g. E. oxypetalum (Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus)
* Hylocereus, e.g. H. undatus (Red Pitaya or dragon fruit)
* Peniocereus, e.g. P. greggii (Arizona Queen-of-the-night)
* Selenicereus, e.g. S. grandiflorus (Vanilla Cactus), probably the most famous))” END QUOTE ..
Sorry to do this but it had me confused for a long time in 1991  …when I first acquired the cutting and did not have wikipedia then… had to impose on the librarians at the NY botanical garden… who helped a great deal…
This also goes to show us (me) that just like many regions of the world call different plants nite blooming cereus, two regions in India call different plants Brahma Kamal
    To add to the confusion Saussurea obvallata is often called STHALAPADMINI (by Kalidasa) or STHALAPADMA in sanskrit  …  And here in Calcutta, West Bengal Hibiscus mutabilis is called sthalpadma or sthalopoddo as it is pronounced locally, there are several growing in gardens in my neighborhood…

– I had uploaded the dragon fruit during the Fruits & vegetables Week. It is common fruit these days in marriage parties. efi thread…

–  I do not know of that particular shloka that you have mentioned… I am sure its in some “newer” tantras or mantra books…

    But I do remember a lecture fragment from 2000 by Professor Dr. Mayaram Uniyal and from my class notes from one of his lectures I give you this… Brahmakamal in Sanskrit shloka:   This the last part of verse 30 in 2nd khanda or Uttar khnada of Meghdoot where Mahakavi Kalidas writes ” साभ्रेऽह्नीव स्थलकमलिनीं न प्रबुद्वां न सुप्ताम् ॥३०॥“ meaning “like Landlotuses on an overcast day, neither open nor closed…. The lovelorn Yaksha is talking of his wife’s tear laden eyes…. and while I researched the original sanskrit text I found this on the internet today …full Sanskrit text of this sloka… पादानिन्दोरमृतशिशिरान् जालमार्गप्रविष्टान् पूर्वप्रीत्या गतमभिमुखं संनिवृत्तं तथैव । चक्षु: खेदात् सलिलगुरुभि: पक्ष्मभिश्छादयन्तीं  साभ्रेऽह्नीव स्थलकमलिनीं न प्रबुद्वां न सुप्ताम् ॥३०॥
at this url:  litgloss.buffalo  on 4/8/2011 8:40:59 PM….
Dr. Uniyal is very knowledgeable and helpful kinda guy… he lives in Rohini Delhi, the last time I saw him in 2001… its in your neck of the woods, you can perhaps track him down… Hope it helps, and if you use this in your write up I would hope that you would credit Dr. Uniyal for leading you to it…and Mahakavi Kalidas for writing it.

– I have a nice Sthalpadma ( hibiscus mutabilis ) here in Bhopal brought from Kolkata.

– I am not sure but the frost did take its toll on a lot of our plants and the ‘hibiscus mutabilis’ is yet to flower.

    The Spathodea Campanulata that was planted as a large tree lost all its leaves recently ( even while elsewhere its brethren seems to have flourished ) along with a large Mimusops Elengi where the leaves have withered and are on the verge of falling and the tree is sadly perhaps ready to leave.
A large well grown jackfruit tree tended for the last three years breathed its last recently but we suspect it could be due to some possible fungal infection and not just the frost.
However hopefully some of the saplings of ‘Buchanania lanzan,’ Mitragyna parviflora, Ficus Infectoria and Schleicheria Oleosa that we had given up for good just after the frost seem to be slowly coming to life again with spring.

   Would be good to know of others experience with the frost that recently ravaged central India.