What is this wildflower with 4 symmetrical petals, white with purple spots, lanceolate leaves? The plant is about a foot high.

a closeup of the stem and leaf

close up of the flower

and a not very good picture of the plant

I live in the middle Himalayas (about 1600m above sea level) and it's just entering autumn here.

  • 2
    Is it possible to post a couple more photos, one showing the plant overall to display growth habit and one showing the foliage please?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 10:37
  • Added the photos, hope it helps!
    – chicu
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


@stormy, @Niall C. Thank you! This looks like it: Swertia angustifolia

The 'frasera' identification was a big help.After that, it was just a matter of hunting.
Thank you so much both for the identification and for introducing me to a beguiling group of plants


This wasn't easy... try Frasera albicaulis. If you google this it'll show lots of pictures.

  • Mhm. Not entirely convinced. OP says it's from the Himalayas while frasera albicaulis is native to the NW US. Flowers also seem a bit "distant" for frasera albicaulis. Very similar though, perhaps a close relative?
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 21:38
  • 1
    I agree, this plant is not a match. But I might try growing it in my garden, thanks!
    – kevinskio
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 1:33
  • Yea, not a match, more like Leontopodium, or Eidelweiss - I can't help thinking the one pictured above is some sort of orchid... but I can't track it down, so maybe not.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 10:24
  • It does have fleshy petals..but also has a taproot. Is that possible for an orchid? Apologies if the question is silly, but i really do not know about ground orchids!
    – chicu
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 15:37
  • Orchids have petals, sepals in groups of 3. This plant isn't an orchid. But I am glad Frasera led you to Swertia...helped. I actually came across Swertia in Nepal but the pictures were terrible. What a cool plant! The chemistry is facinating! Good for you!
    – stormy
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 19:39

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