FACT CHECK: Does this Image Show A ‘Pagoda Flower’ In Tibet?
An image shared on Facebook over 930 times purportedly shows a “Pagoda Flower” in Tibet that grows once every 400 years in the Himalayan mountains.
The flower pictured in the post is called the “Rheum nobile” and grows seasonally. The pagoda flower is notably different from the flower visible in the image.
The Facebook image shows what appears to be a tall, yellow flower growing on the side of a mountain. “Tibet’s unique ‘Pagoda Flower’ is auspicious,” the picture’s caption claims. “This is the Mahameru flower that blooms once every 400 years in the Himalayas.”
However, the image does not show a pagoda flower. A reverse image search revealed the flower captured in the Facebook photo is called “Rheum nobile,” commonly known as “Sikkim Rhubarb,” according to Plants For A Future. The flower grows seasonally in the Himalayas from Nepal to southeast China, the organization states.
Flowering typically occurs from early June to early July, according to a 2020 Annals Of Botany journal article titled, “Demography of the giant monocarpic herb Rheum nobile in the Himalayas and the effect of disturbances by grazing.” (RELATED: Does This Image Show A Real Sea Turtle ‘Living In The Waters Of The Atlantic Ocean’?)
The photo shared on Facebook originally appeared in a 2011 edition of the Alpine Garden Society newsletter and is attributed to photographer Martin Walsh. Similar photos of the plant were later uploaded to the society’s Instagram, with captions identifying the flower as the Rheum nobile, not the pagoda flower.
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Notably, a flower known as the pagoda flower does exist, though its appearance differs greatly from the Rheum nobile. The actual pagoda flower is smaller and red in its appearance and can grow to be six feet or taller in rainforest regions, according to the Florida Museum website. It grows in tropical areas of Asia, including parts of China and the Philippines, and is included in the Invasive Species Compendium.