Orchids in Nepal: A rare jewel

In ancient Rome, Theophrastus, a student of Plato, was intrigued by the sight of a plant with a pair of roots. Orchis was the name he gave them, the Greek word for testicles. Nestled high in the Himalayas, Nepal has more than 300 species of indigenous orchids, many of them fascinating terrestrials and a rare treasure. While orchids, ‘Sunakhari’ in Nepali, are found all over the world, Nepal boasts over 319 exotic species of orchids. Nepal’s moist atmosphere and cloudy forests are a paradise for orchids and every year new species are discovered.

Wide spread into different ecological zones, from the foot hills of the Himalayas to the plains in the Terai, the orchid-world in Nepal is immensely rich drawing naturalists and botanists from around the world. Environmental conditions associated with altitude exert a large influence on orchid species composition and their distribution. Known not only for their ornamental value, but also for their use in herbal medicine, orchids have a long history and Chinese were the first to use them as herbal medicine.

Needless to say, orchids are the most prized flowers given their dazzling array of colors and unique habitation. These beautiful flowers are enough to enchant even the most casual of flower lovers. If orchids in Nepal have piqued your curiosity, you can visit the Godavari Botanical Garden during March-April and July-August, the best months to observe orchids in full bloom.

For adventure-seekers and nature lovers who seek thrill and excitement, you could always trek through the forested trails in Nepal while keeping your eyes open for some of the world’s most beautiful flowers. While trekking in Nepal has always been a rewarding experience, nothing beats running into the wide assortment of orchids along the way.

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