Two endemic orchid species discovered

Kathmandu, April 28

A botanical researcher Bhakta Bahadur Raskoti has discovered two species of wild orchids unique to Nepal.

With the new discovery the number of orchid species found only in Nepal has reached 19.

The newly discovered orchids are called Calanthe Himalaicum and Habenaria Palpensis. Botanist Raskoti in his research article said that Himalaicum was found at a height of 2,200 metres above the sea level in Doti district, while Palpensis was found at a height of 1,500 metres from the sea level at Mujhung hill of Palpa district.

The research article on the discovery of the new orchid species endemic to Nepal, is published in New Zealand based journal Phytotaxa that publishes works on plant species around the world. The journal is famous for listing new orchid species, according to Raskoti.

Speaking about his new discovery Rasakoti said, “It is a great achievement in the field of plant research as it will now open the door for discovering other sub-species of these orchids.”

He also said that medicinal use of these orchids can also be investigated in coming days.

Samples of the two ‘unique to Nepal’ orchids known in Nepali as Sunakhari’ are also found in National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories at Godawari, Lalitpur. The officials at NHPL also confirmed that the information and samples of the new orchid species proved that they were new species ever recorded in the world.

Research officer of NHPL Ganga Datta Bhatta said, “We are confident that the collected specimen are unique to Nepal, as there are not any records of such specimens in herbariums elsewhere.” Identification of any plant species is done once the samples and descriptions of the plants are collected and preserved in a herbarium.

It is estimated that around 502 various species of orchids are found in Nepal. But only 381 species are officially recorded at NHPL. Similarly, a total of 5,309 species of flowering plants including orchids are recorded at NHPL, out of which 314 are endemic to Nepal. It is estimated that around 7,000 flowering plant species are found in Nepal while the total number of such plants in the world is estimated at around 25,000.

A total of 5,990 liken, algae, fungus, mushrooms and pteridophytes which fall under non-flowering plants segment are found in the country.