Ladakh Sprout/Tendril – ID Request (SJ:3Aug09) : 7 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (3).

I found these bundles on the floor of sparse forests at a distance in Suru Valley and thought they were bird nests of some kind. These were quite far and wouldnt have made any sort of meaningful photograph. Till I chanced upon three women carrying baskets on their backs and one of them had these bundles of what looked like sprouts/tendrils. They said that these are not fit for human consumption but are relished by goats, sheep, etc.
Would appreciate your help with the ID of these.

The bundles especially the third one on backs of ladies are twigs of salix. There are several species of Salix growing on stream and river banks in Ladakh. The twigs are dried, bark removed and used for basket making. That should solve your mystery of so called nests.

Thank you for your response. Both close-ups are taken of the bundle in the basket. And they are soft like beansprouts – and finer, so am not sure whether even after drying there will be any ‘bark’ to remove for basket-making. Also, I did not see them by streams or river banks but well away from them on forest under trees.

This tendril like structures are most probably rushes (Juncus species) that are used for weaving basket and cattle also eat soft rushes.