Honey, We Shrank the Snow Lotus: Picking big plants reduces species' height

11:00am, July 6, 2005

Plant collectors have become a force of evolution. The way in which they've harvested a Himalayan wildflower has inadvertently driven the species toward a shorter form, according to a new report.

Traditional healers in Asia have long prized the snow lotus (Saussurea laniceps), which grows only in the eastern Himalayas. The plants bloom just once, at the end of a life spanning at least 7 years. Particularly large blooming plants attract collectors, who consider them to have the greatest medicinal value.

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