Plants of Nepal

Nepal has very diverse varieties of plants. Starting from 70m above sea level Nepal’s land rises all the way to the tip of the Mount Everest (8853m). Because of this altitude variation, it is possible to find very many varieties of plants in Nepal. Also Nepal’s eastern plain receives one of the most rainfall in the world and the north-western highlands receive hardly any rainfall. Nepal, therefore, carries an amazing climatic variations within a small landmass. This country also carries a great potential to carry research on plant varieties possible no where in the world in a single landmass.

This section introduces plant varieties of Nepal and their role in Nepal’s bio-diversity and economy.

High Himalayan Plants

लालीगुराँशको फुल / Rhododendron Flower

लालीगुराँश पाहाडतिर पाइने एउटा बिरुवा हो जसमा घण्टा आकारको फुलहारु

Rhododendron is a plant found in hilly areas with clusters of bell-shaped flowers. This flower is Nepal’s national flower. This flower’s classification:

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron

नेपालमा ३० भन्दा बढी किसिमका लालिगुराँशहरु पाईन्छ | नेपालमा धेरै रंगका र धेरै परीमाणका लालिगुराँशहरु पाईन्छ।

More than 30 kinds of Rhododendron are found in Nepal. In Nepal Rhododendron of many kinds of color and many sizes are found.

Rhododendron

यार्सागुम्बा / Cordyceps sinesis

Cordyceps sinesis is a rare species of parasitic fungus that grows on the bodies of insect larvae. Before the rainy season begins, spores of the cordyceps mushroom settle on the heads of caterpillars that lives underground. The fungus gradually permeates the body of the caterpillars, until the insect dies and the fungus transforms its body. This fungus is found on the subalpine pastures of Nepal, (Such as Dolpa in Karnali zone) as well as the Tibetan highlands of China and in Bhutan, at altitudes of 3000-4000 metres. The word means summer plant and winter insect in Tibetan.

The herb is highly prized by practitioners of Chinese medicine and traditional herbal Folk medicines, in which it is used as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for a variety of ailments, from fatigue to cancer.

This value gave it a role in the Nepal Civil War, as the Nepalese Maoists and government forces fought for control of the lucrative export trade during the June – July harvest season.

Yarsagumba

Collecting yarchagumba in Nepal had only been legalised in 2001, and now demand is highest in countries such as China, Thailand, Korea and Japan. By 2002, the herb was valued at R 105,000 ($1,435) per kilogram, allowing the government to charge a royalty of R 20,000 ($280) per kilogram.

Medicinal Plants

Nepal represents a tiny fraction of the world’s land but its geography and climate is so unique that it is a home to a surprisingly vast collection of medicinal plants. This Himalayan land contains vast amount of aromatic plants, which could have other non-medicinal commercial values. It has become an important matter of research for Nepal to understand these plants and to utilize them in a sustainable and ethical manner and bring benefit to the currently poor people of Nepal and the medical need of the people around the world.

Medicinal Plants

नेपालकोलागी औसधीहरुको डाटाबेसमा १,६२४ वटा जंगली, घरका र न्याचुरल्ली फलाईयेका बिरुवाहरु छन्। त्यसमा १,५३३ वटा फुल हुने र ९२ वटा फुल नफुल्ने बिरुवाहरु छन्।

Database of medicinal and aromatic plants for Nepal includes 1,624 species of wild, domesticated and naturalized species of plants. Of these, 1,533 are flowering species of plants. And only 92 are non-flowering species of plant.

Sancho: A Popular Medicine Developed from Plant Extracts

सन्चोको नयाँ सामाग्री ज्ञान / Sancho’s updated general information
घुम्न आउने पर्यटकहरु नेपाली आयुर्वेदीक औसधीतिर ध्यान दिएको देखिन्छ। नेपाली आयुर्वेदीक भारती बजारमापनी प्रख्यात हुँदैछ। त्यो यसको धेरै प्रयोग भएकोले होला जस्तै:

१) रुघा,
२) खोकी,
३) जोर्नी दुखेको,
४) नाक बन्द भएको,
५) थकान,
६) जीउ दुखेको,
७) मांसपेसी दुखेको,
८) टाउको दुखेको,
९) मर्केको ठाँउमा र
१०) सामान्य चिलाएमा

Visitors and tourists seem to be interested in Nepalese’s herbal medicines such as Sancho. Nepalese herbal medicines such as this are also getting popular in Indian market places. It is probably because of it’s many uses:

1) For cold,
2) Cough,
3) Rheumatism,
4) Stuffy nose,
5) Fatigue,
6) Body ache,
7) Muscular ache,
8) Headache,
9) Neuralgia,
10) Sprain and
11) Itching.

Plants as Illicit Drugs

Cannabis and Hemp

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant that includes one or more species. Cannabis is used as medicine as well as for other purposes. Hemp plant is widely grown in Nepal’s mountains for centuries. Its seeds are used for food to prepare chutney. The hemp fiber is used to make ropes, fishing nets, baskets and bags. The stems are used as firewood.

It is believed that this plant is native to the Himalayan region but was later cultivated around the world due to its hallucinogenic properties and other usages. It is also known as hemp, although this term usually refers to varieties of Cannabis cultivated for non-drug use. Cannabis plants produce a group of chemicals called cannabinoids which produce mental and physical effects when consumed. As a drug it usually comes in the form of dried flowers and leaves (marijuana), resin (hashish), or various extracts. In the early 20th century, it became illegal in most of the world to cultivate or possess Cannabis for drug purposes. Unlike ordinary nicotine cigarettes Cannabis is not addictive, although increased frequent use may cause a psychological addiction.

Mushrooms

There are 1.5 million fungi found in the world today and of these only 69,000 have been identified as wild mushrooms. The chances of stumbling into wild mushroom is very low like 0.46 % chance.


Vision Paudel The content of this page is developed by Vision Paudel, a Grade 7 student of Broadview Avenue Public School, Ottawa, Canada. The Nepali Language Class, to which Vision is a student was made possible due to collaborative efforts of Nepalese Canadian Association of Ottawa (www.nepalese.ca) and Ottawa Carleton District School Board (ocdsb.ca).

After our students research all the material and write their material with the best of their abilities, our teachers correct them and enhance the grammar and writing to make them presentable to our readers.