49_G15_Arena

Global Issue 15

Arena Himalayas The story is repeated with its reptile, aquatic, and amphibious species. The region’s thousands of plant species include breathtaking varieties of exotic orchids, rhododendrons, primroses and wild white bat fl ower, and many more. The rhubarb – the ‘noble rhubarb’ – which, in fl ower, punctuates hidden hillsides like a spectral sentinel, almost two metres high, and is prized for its rarity and medicinal properties. Perhaps the most precious – literally – is the legendary caterpillar fungus. has long been used in China for a wide with the huge increase in buying power of Chinese and Asian communities, has propelled it to a new status as the world’s most prized fungus, worth twice its weight in gold. The hunt for it has led to violence among rival mountain communities who fi ght over a potentially rich, but often bitter, harvest. This is just the story so far. New species are still regularly discovered in the Eastern  Harbinger of spring: the bright red fl owers of Rhododendron arboretum ginger. It features countless fl oral celebrities – cobra lilies, the blue poppy, the ethereal mountains are also a vast source of medicinal plants, such as the ghostly-looking Sikkim This complex of a fungus and a moth caterpillar variety of treatments, including cancer. But its reputation as an aphrodisiac, together global thi rd quar ter 2013 www.global -br ief ing.org l 49


Global Issue 15
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