Ladakh is a high altitude cold  desert . The landscape in The Leh Valley  is dominated by a breathtaking view of Poplars and Willows.

Both trees are native to the Himalayas and play a vital role in the day day to life of the Ladakhi people.

The first view of these gorgeous deciduous Ladakhi  trees near the Mahey Retreat in Leh, Ladakh.

willows near hotel
The Coloured Haphazard Willows alongwith the Pencil Poplars

Forests of various species of Willows line the River Indus ( do read an earlier blog titled ORIGIN OF INDIA) which flows through the valley of Leh amidst the stately snow clad Himalayas.


willows and himalayas
Forests of Willows

Willows belong to the Genus Salix,( family Salicaceae) which has hundreds of species of which only a few are native to the High Altitude of Ladakh where temperatures can dip to minus 40 degrees Centigrade .

Salix oxycarpa Andersson ( not of Matrix the movie fame)  is one species of The Willow Trees I have been able to pinpoint as definitely native to this region.

Salix Alba or the White willow was introduced as part of a Colonial Policy in the earlier 19th Century in order to make Cricket Bats.

willows in buddhist ladakh
Buddhist Prayer flags give company to the Leafless Willows

A breathtaking view of the natural Forests of Willows which line the swift flowing River Indus near the Hemis Monastery Plantation Centre.

The Hemis Monastery is very active in planting Trees endemic to the region and do hold a word record for planting over 50,000 saplings in under 30 minutes.

Salix wallichiana and Salix elegans ( endemic to the Himalayas in particular) are two other species endemic to the region but are more  Shrub like rather than Trees.


forest on indus river bank
Enchanting view of The Indus, The Willows and The Himalayas

You will be Enchanted to know as I was that both the Elegant Straight Growing Poplar and the Scraggy Flexible Willows belong to the same family Salicaceae.

Published by

mukul chand

51 year old entrepreneur who has traveled extensively around the world for work and pleasure , is based in New Delhi, India. A passionate traveler born with a love for flora and fauna, is an active naturalist and amateur photographer. Here he shares his unique insight into Incredible India revealing its mysterious and exotic treasures. Writing from his heart he shares his experiences as he crisscrosses this vast and amazing land.

40 thoughts on “WILLOWS IN LADAKH”

      1. I am up and it s very early but the dawn is soon… I am so badly coughing and can’t able to sleep… so I am here 🙂 Have a nice day, good luck for your car… Love, nia

        Liked by 1 person

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