Saussurea glacialis Herder, in Bull. Soc. Nat. Mosc. xi. (1867) II. 144. 144 1867. (Syn: Saussurea pamirica C.Winkl.; Saussurea violacea Pamp.);

Images by Suresh Rana, validation by Gurcharan Singh


Saussurea sp. from Paddar valley J&K. 01 : Attachments (1). 5 posts by 3 authors.
Request for ID confirmation.

Can this plant be Saussurea glacialis
Location: Paddar valley J&K
Date: 7th August 2011
Altitude: 4700 meters asl

Kindly have a look on below link.

I think it could be Saussurea gnaphalodes (Royle ex Candolle) Schultz or Saussurea glacialis, both very close and reported from Kashmir and very closely similar

Saussurea gnaphalodes
Saussurea glacialis

Yes I too will go with Saussurea gnaphalodes

Looking at the descriptions and photographs, I think … is right
It could be S. glacialis



Saussurea glacialis (?) from Uttarakhand: Sep.2014_DSR_14 : 5 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (1).

Saussurea glacialis (Asteraceae) photographed near Roopkund (Chamoli) Uttarakhand.
4800m altitude.
Validation from experts required.

Again a beauty …

Beautiful collection of plants. Enjoyed them all.

efi page on Saussurea glacialis
Pl. see earlier thread on this species by …: Saussurea sp. from Paddar valley J&K. 01 & confirmed by …


SK984 17 FEB-2018 : 8 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)- 1 mb each except one.

Location : Way to Khardung La, India
Altitude: Around  15-16000 
Date:  24 August 2014
Habit : Wild
Saussurea sp.  ??? Which one ?

This species is most probably Saussurea glacilis Herder but I cant say surely because some more confusing species of Saussurea are also found in Ladakh.

Thank you …! Saussurea glacialis Herder  ?? … : Your opinion please.

Sorry …, Can’t say!

Saussurea glacialis

Thank you … Saussurea glacialis Herd.

Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra::Saussurea inversa NSJ-OCT 16/11 : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (3)
Saussurea inversa for validation. Photo taken just after crossing Lipulekh pass (China border) on Aug 27, 2016. Height approx 15000 feet.

Interesting Saussurea species. A trans-Himalayan one as I suppose.
S. inversa is not known in Uttarakhand.

This is a new ‘species’ for me but I am doubtful it is S.inversa on the basis of the image taken in Paddar Valley named as such on the FOI site see: Flowers of India which is presumably where the provisional name came from matching with?  Not recorded from Ladakh or known in Stewart’s day (assuming it is found in W.Himalaya). Not in ‘Enumeration of Flowering Plants of Nepal’. Many ‘new’ species have been described in the Himalaya in recent decades – a complicated genus (like so many).
As for existing species, there is much confusion between S.simpsoniana and S.gossypiphora in the W.Himalaya.
As two of our members named the image on the FOI site they are in a much better position to comment further, especially as I do not recognise these images or the one from the Paddar Valley but the images do not come close to me.
Just noticed that an article on Research Gate, see: The_genus_Saussurea_Compositae_Cardueae in_China_Taxonomic_and_nomenclatural_notes  states that S.sorocephala var. glabrata is raised to specific rank as S.inversa. Stewart had S.sorocephala Schrenk as a synonym of S.gnaphalodes (which is common in Laadkh); he thought this variety seemed to be the same as S.hypsipeta Diels (yet does not list this species in his Catalogue) and probably should be considered only to be a glabrate form. Saussurea hypsipeta is listed by Dickore & Klimes from Ladakh- there is an excellent image of it by our member Miroslav: Butbn.
Clearly, … may be able to comment in a more informed way than me.

To me it appears close to Saussurea glacialis Herder as per image herein.

Pleased to learn of this. But Saussurea glacialis is not on ‘The Plant List’ as an accepted name. Nor is the synonym in the link. Can you say which species it is included under in ‘The Plant List’?
Saussurea remains a difficult genus with frequent mix-ups. May I request (and this applies for every plant of every genus) that photographers take more than just one general shot (covering the plant’s habit and flowers).
It is so helpful for reliably identifying plants to have close-ups of various parts of the flowers (or flower-heads in the case of Saussurea) not forgetting close-ups of leaves (both upper and lower surface) plus a habitat shot or two. Nowadays I am to take a minimum of 10-20 images per plant. I appreciated it is demanding to do this at the highest altitudes esp. 4000-5000m but with practise one speeds up and gets into doing this automatically.
It is often so much harder to attempt to name a plant from a single image, which at times does not show the important details.
Yes, it is possible to do this is many cases but other times it becomes very difficult – and for others, using such images, it does not help much when distinguishing between closely-related species. Often the images in ‘Flowers of the Himalaya’ e.g. though good enough when published in the early 1980s (and only economic to printed a single image per species), with the aid of digital photography and web-sites, we need to be aiming to have, at the least, several images for each species.
At times we are trying to do the impossible with images which do not show the characteristics we need to see to be confident as to identifications.   And we need images of a species from a number of locations, which help to illustrate intra-specific variation, helping us not to think something belongs to a different species altogether or mistakenly that it is “new to science”.
I went through Stewart again and see that S.glacialis Herder was given as a synonym for S.chthonocephala Bornm. – recorded from Chitral but not Ladakh. It was said to be near S.thomsonii Clarke.
As for S.thomsonii this was recorded from Nubra & Tibet, described as dwarf, stemless, coriaceous, heads small, congested. Like a dwarf S.atkiinsonii – which was recorded as common on alpine meadows in Kashmir.
I note that Dickore & Klimes record S.glacialis from Ladakh.

Thanks, … Pl. check it is there:

Saussurea bracteata Decne. ??

Looks different from images at Saussurea bracteata

Re: Saussurea bracteata

Saussurea bracteata specimen in Kew Herbarium

This specimen looks like S schultzii according to the book of Klimes and Dickore.

Some links they have merged but POWO, Klimes and Dickore book and listing ,
IPNI and BHL treats them separately.
1 attachment of FBI book.

The specimen link of Saussurea bracteata you have sent has been identified as S schultzii, if you see the details in it.

After going through the specimens in GBIF from India, I think it is Saussurea bracteata (Pl. ignore the specimens of S schultzii shown here in GBIF):
Saussurea nana (Pamp.) Pamp. is treated as a syn. of Saussurea bracteata DC. by POWO (They have wrongly shown specimen of S schultzii here).
Also matches the description as given in the book link sent by Tabish ji and Saroj ji (I think from FBI).
Specimens of S schultzii from India look different as per GBIF:

Thank you … Finally ID is resolved! Now we have to separate two sp.

Is the species posted by … is Saussurea bracteata/ S. shultzii ?

Saussurea bracteata

To me the images posted by … are closer to S. glacialis or allied species in which plants are woolly in appearance.
S. bracteata as I understand and as mentioned in indian floristic literature and also in the book by Stainton (Supplement to Flowers of the Himalaya, plate-55), is a plant with distinct erect stem and long lanceolate leaves. It resembles S. obvallata in habit.
S. bracteata and S. schultzii may be two separate species but Indian literature has merged them into S. bracteata. These may be different species but must be closer in morphology based on which indian literature merges them together.
Both of these species (S.bracteata or S. schultzii) do not resemble the images posted by …

Thanks, … Yes, you may be right (though I am not sure) as per GBIF specimens (nothing in it from India):

We already have many observations of this species at Saussurea glacialis

Saussurea sp. from Paddar valley J&K. 03: Request for Identification

Can the attached plat be Saussurea gnaphalodes
Location: Paddar valley J&K.
Date: 7th August 2011
Altitude: 5000 meters asl

Saussurea gnaphalodes has a wooly leaves which is kind of missing in this plant.

I think yes Saussurea gnaphalodes. It is a more mature specimen than other one which seemed to be younger. Red petioles and midrib are quite obvious.

Thanks a lot for ID of plants. It is now clear that all my uploaded plant today belong to species S. gnaphalodes. I was thinking these as different species.

I think it may be S.glacialis only as per other observations herein, from the same place.

This is S. gnaphalodes ! Please see hairy spongy leaves in S.glacialis !

Pl. see leaves in Saussurea gnaphalodes, they look different.

Saussurea sp. from Paddar valley J&K. 04 : Attachments (1).  4 posts by 4 authors.
Request for identification
Kindly identify this Saussurea sp.
Location: paddar valley J&K.
Date: 7th August 2011.
Altitude: 4900 meters asl

Are those bigger leaves from the same plant?

Saussurea glacialis Herder ??

Saussurea gnaphalodes (Royle) Sch.Bip.

I think it may be S.glacialis only as per other observations herein, from the same place.

I shall go for Saussurea gnaphalodes (Royle) Sch.Bip. !

Pl. see leaves in Saussurea gnaphalodes, they look different.


Ladakh, August 2022 :: Saussurea glacialis :: ARK2022-175:

This was at the Chang la (the top) next to Chang la baba mandir, Ladakh in August 2022.
Saussurea glacialis
Requested to please validate.

Yes … !

Three species given in bold below (from keys in Flora of China) are quite confusing. Pl. check (all can be seen at Saussurea):

18 (12) Pappus dull dark brown, mouse-gray, or blackish (19)
+ Pappus white, dirty white, straw-colored, light brown, or brown (21)
19 (18) Plants not caespitose; caudex long, creeping, fragile, branched below ground level; leaf blade elliptic to narrowly elliptic, pinnately lobed to pinnately divided, 5-15 mm wide. 16 S. quercifolia
+ Plants usually caespitose; caudex short, branched at ground level; leaf blade obovate, spatulate, or linear-oblong, undivided, 2-8 mm wide (20)
20 (19) Rosette and lower stem leaves green, glabrescent; petioles green, elongated; leaf margin obtusely sinuate-dentate; outer pappus bristles always reflexed and appressed on achene. 13 S. inversa
+ Rosette and lower stem leaves whitish, densely tomentose; petioles purple, short; leaf margin entire or shallowly crenate; outer pappus bristles usually erect. 14 S. gnaphalodes
21 (18) Plants shortly stemmed, less than 10 cm tall (22)
+ Plants with a distinct elongate erect flowering stem, usually more than 10 cm tall (24)
22 (21) Leaf blade very small, less than 1 cm. 15 S. sugongii
+ Leaf blade larger, more than 1 cm   (23)
23 (22) Upper stem leaves elliptic, not reflexed, apex obtuse to rounded. 12 S. glacialis
+ Upper stem leaves linear, reflexed, apex acuminate. 19 S. gyacaensis

Going by the keys, can it be Saussurea gnaphalodes (Royle) Sch.Bip. ?

Let me further analyse the descriptions from Flora of China: 

Saussurea gnaphalodes (Royle ex Candolle) Schultz Bipontinus  Saussurea glacialis Herder
Herbs 1.5-6(-10) cm tall, perennial, polycarpic, caespitose. Caudex branched at ground level, usually with many leaf rosettes and flowering shoots. Stem solitary, 1-3 mm in diam., erect, simple.
Rosette and stem leaves shortly petiolate; petiole purple; leaf blade obovate, spatulate, or linear-oblong, 5-20 × 2-8 mm, abaxially whitish with dark midvein and arachnoid tomentose, adaxially white or brownish arachnoid lanate, base cuneate-attenuate, margin entire, crenate, or obtusely dentate, apex obtuse to rounded.
Capitula 5-20, in a hemispheric synflorescence 2-4 cm in diam., sessile. Involucre cylindric, (3-)5-8 mm in diam. Phyllaries in 3 or 4 rows, membranous, straw-colored to light brown, apically dark brown strigose, apex obtuse to acuminate; outer phyllaries ovate-oblong, 7-8 × 2-3.5 mm; middle and inner phyllaries narrowly ovate-elliptic to linear, 6-9 × 1-2 mm. Receptacle bristles 0.5-1.5 mm.
Corolla rose-purple, 8-9 mm, tube 4-5 mm, limb 4-4.5 mm, lobes 2-2.5 mm.
Achene brown to dirty white with dark spots, cylindric to obconic, 3-4 mm, smooth, glabrous or gland-dotted. Pappus mouse-gray to blackish; outer bristles 2-4 mm, sometimes reflexed; inner bristles 8-9 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun-Sep. 2n = 48*.Alpine scree slopes; 2700-5800 m. Gansu, Qinghai, W Sichuan, S and W Xinjiang, Xizang [NE Afghanistan, NW India, Kashmir, E Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, W Nepal, N Pakistan, Tajikistan].
Herbs 2-6(-10) cm tall, perennial, polycarpic, shortly stemmed. Caudex slender, branched, with several leaf rosettes and flowering stems, covered with remains of petioles. Stem solitary, 1-3 mm in diam., erect, simple.

Rosette and stem leaves shortly petiolate; leaf blade narrowly elliptic to obovate, 1.5-4 × 0.4-1 cm,
 abaxially white lanate, adaxially yellowish or white lanate, base cuneate-attenuate, margin crenate or entire, apex obtuse.
Capitula 3-15,

in a hemispheric synflorescence 1.5-4 cm in diam., sessile. Involucre cylindric to narrowly campanulate, (5-)7-10 mm in diam.
Phyllaries in 3 or 4 rows, scarious, apically purple or blackish, apex acute to acuminate; outer phyllaries narrowly ovate-elliptic, 9-13 × 2.5-3 mm, apically lanate; middle phyllaries narrowly oblong, 8-13 × 1.5-2.5 mm; inner phyllaries narrowly elliptic to linear, 9-13 × 1-1.5 mm, glabrous. Receptacle bristles white, 0.5-2.5 mm.
Corolla purple, 9-10 mm, tube 3-4 mm, limb 6-6.5 mm, lobes 2-2.5 mm.Achene cylindric to obconic, 3-4 mm, glabrous. Pappus in 2 rows; outer bristles dirty white, 2-5 mm, scabrid to plumose, sometimes lacking; inner bristles basally brown, apically dirty white, 8-11 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Aug.

Alpine scree slopes; 3800-5200 m. Qinghai, Xinjiang, Xizang [E Afghanistan, NW India, Kashmir, E Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, N Pakistan, Russia (Siberia), Tajikistan].

Both appear to be rather close.
Keeping it at Saussurea glacialis, for the time being. though not convinced.

Yes, …, let us keep it at that.



The Plant List  Flora of China  Encyclopedia of Life (Specimen) Specimen  GBIF