Flora diversity of Nepal

Flora diversity of Nepal

Nepal contains a wide range of habitats with diverse floral species, due to its topographic and climate extremities. Collection of Nepali specimens was initiated in 1802 by Buchanan Hamilton and was conducted by N. Wallich (1820-21). Since then many parts of Nepal have been well explored. It is estimated that the British Museum has over 40,000 specimens of Nepalese plants. The University of Tokyo about 100,000 specimens and the National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories at Godavari, 150,000 specimens. Nepali herbarium specimens are also housed in 38 herbaria throughout the world.

Bacteria: Between 3,000 & 4,000 bacteria species have been identified around the world. Enormous numbers of uncultured bacteria are yet to be identified from soils, deep sea sediments and the digestive tracts and pockets of a wide variety of animals and insects.

Lichens: Lichens are found in all climate zones. 48 species of lichen are reported to be endemic to Nepal. Studies have been carried out mainly in eastern and central Nepal. L.R. Sharma (1995) identified 465 species from 79 genera and 30 families.

Fungi: MK Adhikari (1999) listed 1822 species of algae belonging to 150 genera and 50 families in Nepal, with 12 species presumed to be endemic. Most work has been concentrated in the high mountain and mid hills regions.

Bryophytes: A total of 853 species of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) has been recorded (Kattel and Adhikari 1992) and 668 species of bryophytes listed, of which 627 species are found in eastern Nepal and 283 species in central Nepal.

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Pteridophytes: Iwatsuki (1988) recorded 380 species, with 258 distributed in the eastern region and 97 in central region of Nepal. No collection has been made from western Nepal.

Gymnosperm: Altogether 27 species of gymnosperm have been listed (Koba et al. 1994). These include 20 indigenous belonging to 13 genera and 10 families (TB Shrestha).

Angiosperms: the biodiversity profile project (1995) ranked Nepal as having the 10th riches flowering plant diversity and 31st position on a world scale. Koba et al.(1994) extended the lists of flowering plant species prepared by Hara and Willams. They enumerated 5,806 species belonging to 203 familes.

Comparative totals of plant species of the world and Nepal

 

Group(life form)

World number

Nepal

Number

%

Bacteria

3000-4000

Not reported

Lichens

 >17,000

471

2.77

Fungi

>70,000

1882

2.69

Bryophytes

>14,000

668

4.77

Pteridophytes

10,369

534

5.15

Algae

>40,000

687

1.72

Angiosperms

231,638

6391

2.76

Total

>403,000

10633

2.80

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