The mountains feature high, steep peaks with angular edges so massive it was once believed the only way to reach the top was by flying bison. Though some small areas around the temple were landscaped or used for agricultural purposes, the Air Nomads on the whole maintained a vast majority of the natural landscape in accordance with their traditions. Nevertheless, there is little native vegetation due to the high altitude of the mountain range. Plants found in this location include grasses, scrub bushes, deciduous trees, small yellow wildflowers, and several varieties of fruit trees planted by the Air Nomads.
The word "Patola" bears close resemblance to "Potala", the name of a palace in the Tibet Autonomous Region which served as the main residence of the Dalai Lama until mid 20th century.
↑From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.