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  • 'Let's Explore Our Plant Diversity for Present and Future'

Flora of Nepal


The Flora of Nepal is the first comprehensive record of all the vascular plants of Nepal. It includes keys and descriptions to assist identification, distribution maps to assess rarity and geographic spread, authoritative scientific names to promote communication, synonyms, to help interpret previous works and supplementary information such as ecology, phenology, ethnobotanical uses and discussion on taxonomic issues. These provide the baseline data needed for environmental studies, climate change modeling, biodiversity inventories, conservation planning and the sustainable use of natural resources.

In economic terms Nepal has a low gross domestic product (GDP), but it has a great natural wealth and a very rich flora of an estimated species of ferns, conifers and flowering plants. The Himalayan range is recognized as one of the 'hottest' of the global Biodiversity Hotspots and, as about a third of all species in the wider Himalaya range occur in Nepal. The plants of Nepal are of international as well as local importance. Nepal also provides many ecosystem services, such as water supply and carbon management, benefiting its neighbors and the global community. The Hindu Kush-Himalaya is often referred to as the 'water tower of Asia', with 1.3 billion people dependent on the water that flows from its mountain and glaciers. The economic value of this and other ecosystem services is only now being assessed and beginning to be in national financial profiles. Plants are of fundamental importance to the functioning of these ecosystems, and so promoting and conserving plant biodiversity within them is an essential part of maintaining their health. At a human level plants are vital to the everyday livelihoods of the vast   majority of Nepalese people, as source of food and medicine, shelter, fire and for numerous other purposes such as dyes, fibers, beverages and animal fodder.

Plant biodiversity is vulnerable to habitat destruction and over- exploitation. Habitats need to be conserved and species used sustainably if they are to survive for future generations to use and enjoy. Tourism, particularly eco-tourism, is one of Nepal's main revenue sources and many people depend on the trekking industry for their income. Tourists are attracted by Nepal's spectacular landscape and the fascinating plants and animals of which they are a part. If these natural resources are lost then Nepal's economy and the livelihoods of the local people will also suffer. Conservation and sustainable use are important at all levels – local, national and international – and for sound economic, scientific and sociological reasons, and the Government of Nepal recognizes this in its National Biodiversity Strategy. However, effective planning for conservation and sustainable use is dependent upon reliable data relating to the species found in Nepal, their distribution and their ecological requirements. For the most part this baseline information is very limited, even for Nepal's extensive networks of protected areas. Environmental research into habitats, ecosystem and plant use in reliant on accurate species identification, and so tools are needed to aid this process. Recent growth in climate change resource are highlighted the urgent need for accurate biodiversity occurrence data to contribute to modeling current changes and predicting the future. The Flora of Nepal from the major component of these requirements and the Government of Nepal has designated it a top priority project in its National Biodiversity Strategy Implementation plan and essential in addressing Nepal's obligations under the international Conservation on biological Diversity.

History of Flora of Nepal

The evolution and development of the flora of Nepal project has a long and complex history that has been summarized by Watson and will be fully recounted in the forthcoming introductory volume. Producing a Flora of Nepal was a prime objective of the Government of Nepal's Department of Medicinal Plants (Now Department of Plant Resources). Soon after its establishment in 1961, but it was soon realized that extensive field work would be needed to build expertise and provide the research materials required for this. In need, it took nearly 20 years before collections and experience were considered extensive enough for botanist in Japan, Britain, Nepal to join forces to produce the first detailed checklist of the  plants of Nepal. The Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal (Usually referred to as 'EPN' or the 'Enumeration') provided a comprehensive listing of accepted names and synonyms, with altitudinal range and crude distribution using three zones in Nepal – West, Central and East. This groundbreaking work established a soiled nomenclature, but was a limited use for identification as it included keys to genera and species for very few families and there were no descriptions. The Enumeration highlighted geographic regions and taxonomic groups that needed further study, and the following decades saw extensive collaborative projects targeting these knowledge gaps.

The next major landmark was the publication of the Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal (ACFPN) in 2000. This was produced by the plant information and technology transfer for Nepal project, which took the enumeration in to the electronic age, incorporating and updating the information using a data base from which ACFPN was generated. Although presented in a different format from the Enumeration, ACFPN contained similar information with the addition of life from for each species. An internet version of ACFPN was later produced and made available the through the eFloras web site ( At about the same time, Nepalese workers publish Flowering Plants of Nepal (Phanerogams) presenting their checklist information in a more condensed and abbreviated format, and Pteridophytes of Nepal, the first comprehensive checklist of 534  of ferns and ferns allies.

Whilst progress was being made on the country- wide checklist, botanist in Nepal and Japan also undertook revisions of specific groups and worked on regional Floras. These extended the information available for a selected number of species, providing keys, descriptions, distributions and supplementary data. Notable publications include: The Flora of Eastern Himalaya series and other works by the University of Tokyo and the Society Himalayan Botany: Flora of Langtang, Flora of the Kathmandu valley and the Fascicles of Flora of Nepal series by the Department of the Plant Resources, best primarily on collections in the National Herbarium (KATH); and the recent Flora of Mustang.

The flora of Nepal in its present form dates back to the first editorial meeting convened in Edinburgh in 2002. The advisory board comprises senior representative of the three lead organizations in each country : D. Bajracharya, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST, formerly Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology), Nepal ; S.Blackmore, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (RBGE), U.K.: and H. Ohba, University of Tokyo/ Society of Himalayan Botany, Japan. RBGE is the administrative centre, and the activities of the three Nepalese partner institutes, The Nepal chapter, are coordinated by NAST and directed by the National Coordination and Steering Committee. The Nepal chapter includes: NAST, The department of the Plant Resources (DPR) and the Central Department of Botany (CDB), Tribhuvan University. The Editorial Board is responsible for the day-to-day running of the project and comprises the editors invited experts. Membership of each of these groups is listed at the start of this book.                                                                   (Source: Flora of Nepal, Vol- 3)

Flora of Nepal will be published in ten volumes. Preparation of manuscripts and electronic capture of plant data will take place concurrently.

Volume 1

Introduction: Pteridophytes & Gymnosperms

Volume 2

Saururaceae to Menispermaceae
(Moraceae, Urticaceae, Polygonaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Ranunculaceae)

Volume 3

Magnoliaceae to Rosaceae
(Lauraceae, Papaveraceae, Cruciferae, Crassulaceae, Saxifragaceae)

Volume 4

Leguminosae to Sapindaceae

(Rutaceae, Euphorbiaceae)

Volume 5

Sabiaceae to Toricelliaceae

(Balsaminaceae, Malvaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Umbelliferae)

Volume 6

Diapensiaceae to Hydrophyllaceae

(Ericaceae, Primulaceae, Gentianaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Solanaceae, Convolvulaceae)

Volume 7

Boraginaceae to Carlemmaniaceae

(Verbenaceae, Labiatae, Scrophulariaceae, Gesneriaceae, Acanthaceae)

Volume 8

Rubiaceae to Compositae

(Caprifoliaceae, Campanulaceae)

Volume 9

Alismataceae to Gramineae

(Cyperaceae, Juncaceae)

Volume 10a and  10b


 Acoraceae to Orchidaceae

(Araceae, Liliaceae, Ruscaceae, Commelinaceae, Zingiberaceae)

Progress of Flora of Nepal till date

Volume 3

Magnoliaceae to Rosaceae (Already Published in 2011)
(Lauraceae, Papaveraceae, Cruciferae, Crassulaceae, Saxifragaceae)

 Nepal is preparing draft of  Vol- 10a and 10b

Acoraceae to Orchidaceae

(Araceae, Liliaceae, Ruscaceae, Commelinaceae, Zingiberaceae)

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is preparing draft of

Volume 7

Boraginaceae to Carlemmaniaceae

(Verbenaceae, Labiatae, Scrophulariaceae, Gesneriaceae, Acanthaceae)



University of Tokyo Japan is preparing draft of  

Volume 4

Leguminosae to Sapindaceae

         (Rutaceae, Euphorbiaceae)                    of Nepal pariyozana (SAMAJDHARI PATRA).pdf of Nepal Flora (in Nepali).pdf


Subhash Khatri
Subhash Khatri Chief , Senior Research Officer [ View all officials ]
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