Yang Xiao was out and about in the Tianbao range, just south of Shangri-la, during the last days of June/first days of July. It’s not the most favourable time of year for weather, but you have to be prepared for a bit of rain to see the best of the region’s wildflowers. As this is breeding season for the local yaks, this is also a busy time for the Tibetan herders on Mt. Tianbao’s many pastures.

This was the highlight of his journey, a particularly rare (at least in our experience) beauty sometimes known as the Chinese Alpine Lily.

Yang Xiao’s hand gives an idea of the size of this bloom.

The crest of Mt. Tianbao, which rises just over 4,400 meters above sea level, looms in the distance.

I’ve written the names of all flowers into the photo data, so either hover your cursor over these small pictures or click on any one to enter the gallery. There are a couple I haven’t been able to identify, plus a couple of wild guesses. Any improvements and/or corrections will be very welcome, as ever…

This was Yang Xiao’s highest camp, around 4,200 meters up, with Lake Abuji in the background.

This gentleman herds his yaks on a small pasture below Abuji. He is standing with his grandson in a field of Primula secundiflora, I think.

These chaps were herding on a much larger pasture to the north of Tianbao. The fellow on the left is mute – he used sign language to explain to Yang Xiao that wolves roam the mountain in the background, and that they are especially dangerous at this time of year when the yaks are having their babies.

If your yak butter tea has a smoky taste, now you know why…

This is an early stage of the traditional and very sour Tibetan cheese found on the markets of Shangri-la. After the excess fluid has drained away, these are dried over the stove.

A day’s work produces one to one-and-a-half of these cakes of yak butter, which sell for up to 85 yuan each.

Back to the wildflowers, and you have to climb up to near 4,000 meters to find these rhododendron still in bloom.

I’ve never seen this one before. Any ideas?

This is definitely an iris: I’m plumping for a variant of Iris bulleyana Dykes.

And to finish off, a nice patch of what might be another Primula poissonii, but what I’m going to say is Primula blinii.

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