|HOME l COUNTRIES l WORKSHOPS l MANAGEMENT TEAM l MEETINGS l RESOURCES l ABOUT OSSSU l NEWS|
Nepal’s geographical location, its mountainous terrain and topography, contribute to the occurrence of a rich biological diversity. Western Himalayas and eastern Himalayas merge here, thereby providing a wide and diverse range of habitats for the luxuriant growth of plants including orchids. Nepal is home to more than 388 species of native orchids belonging to 102 genera, of which 12 are endemic to Nepal. In Nepal the greatest abundance and diversity of orchids has been recorded between 700 - 2500 m elevation and in wet mountain forest on the north and east facing slopes. However, there are species such as Galearis spathulata, G. stracheyi, Cypripedium cordigerum, Herminium duthiei, H. josephii, Spathoglottis ixioides, Satyrium nepalense which have been reported from 4000 m altitude in the Himalayas. With regards to the study of orchids, many parts of Nepal remain as yet poorly explored. Careful surveys may reveal many new additions to the orchid flora of Nepal.
People in Nepal use orchids for ornamental, medicinal and edible purposes. Many of the same species of orchids have been used for multiple purposes leading to the decline of their populations at an alarming rate. Orchids are mostly collected from the wild using non-sustainable, destructive, methods such as collecting the entire plant, rhizome, tuber, roots and other reproductive parts such as fruit and seeds. Furthermore, low regeneration rates and loss of habitat add to the serious threat to orchid populations.
The orchids of Nepal are under considerable threat from continued (a) habitat destruction, degradation and fragmentation and (b) illegal collection and trade and consumption. Detailed study of commercially important species, hybrid production and international market potential is still necessary to promote Nepalese orchids. Collection and sale of wild orchids from the orchid rich area of Nepal is rooted in the activities of local people in Nepal, providing huge amounts of such orchids to local traders from China and India where large companies need their raw materials for different traditional medicines. Due to the recent trend of using traditional medicine in western countries the demand is increasing. 96 species of orchids have been reported to have medicinal value in Nepal. Many of these orchids have been used by the native people of Nepal for treating different diseases such as general debility like stomach ache, bone fracture, colds, wound healing, general weakness and to cure various other diseases. They have been used either alone or in combination with other plants and other supplements. Some of the important species of medicinal value are Acampe papilliosa, Arundina graminifolia, Bulbophyllum umbellatum, Brachycorythis obcordata, Calanthe masuca, Coelogyne species, Cymbidium aloifolium, Cyperipedium cordigerum, Cyperipedium himalaicum, Dactylorhyza hatagirea, Dendrobium species. Eulophia nuda,Epimerantha macraei, Herminium monorchis, Otochilus porrectus, Pholidota imbricata. and Vanda species. Dactylorhyza hatagirea which is regarded as the one of the most important medicinal plants of high altitude.
Domestication participation of community based organization
Photos: Top left to right; Coelogyne nitida, Bijaya Pant looking at orchids in Nepal, Coelogyne ovalis. Bottom left; Dendrobium fimbriatum Hook and Explaining orchid culture to students.