Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 116-22. 2009
Utilization and Status of Plant Resources in Northern Part of Pokhara valley, Central Nepal
Acharya, Kamal Prasad
P.O.Box 15142 KPC 676, Kathmandu, Nepal. Email:
Issued 30 January 2009
Study on plants and plant products and their present status is helpful for proper management of those resources. Nepal is a multicultural and multilingual country. Present study on utilization of forest plant resources was carried out in Bhurjungkhola, Sardikhola VDC, northern part of Pokhara valley during October and November 2004. Altogether 116 plant species belonging to 61 families and 103 genera along with their vernacular names, their uses and present status of abundance were documented. Out of 116 plant species, 58 plant species are used as medicinal purposes, 2 as a food value, 22 as fruits, 20 as vegetables, 56 as fodder and forages, 19 as timber, 45 as fuelwood, 11 as religious and 5 species as ornamental. The status of 66 plant species are found in medium followed by 36 plant species with low status and 15 plant species with increasing number.
Key words: Forest resources, Medicinal plants, Pokhara, Sardikhola VDC.
Nepal, a central Himalaya extends from 885 Km east to west along the Himalayan mountain system with a varying width from 145 Km to 241 Km. Within its narrow strip, it includes diverse physiographic structure and wide range of climatic conditions (Manandhar, 1999). As a result of the rugged and extremely diverse topographic structure, it contributed to the formation of isolated localities with unique flora and fauna (Chaudhary, 1998). Because of this Nepal is regarded as the showroom of biodiversity. Nepal falls in the 25th and 11th position in terms of species richness at the global and continental level respectively (MOPE, 2000). So far it is estimated that around 7000 species of flowering plants are present in Nepal, however, only 5,636 species have been reported (DPR 2001). Manandhar (2002) compiled informtations on 1500 plant species and majority of them are medicinal.
Forest and people have been and still are intimately connected, socially as well as economically. Peoples’ dependance on forest resource is of ancient. Fuelwood is one of major sources of energy accounting about 10% of total energy supply (FAO 2007) and with the ever higher prices of fuels, there will be even more pressure on forests. Not only that at least 80% of the world’s population in the developing countries uses plant materials as their source of primary health care (Farnsworth et al., 1985). The process of exploiting forest resources beyond the sustainable capacity has lead to a number of environmental problems such as loss of habitat and biodiversity. Nepal is not an exception. In Nepal, plant resources have contributed significantly to the social, economical, cultural and environmental development of particular area. Study of such resources has great importance that it brings to light numerous less known or unknown uses of plants, some of which have potential wider uses (Chaudhary, 1998). This paper provides the list of plant species, their uses and their current status in Sardikhola VDC -1, Bhurjungkhola.
Materials and Methods
Present study was carried out in Bhurjungkhola of Sardikhola VDC-1 is situated in the northern side of Pokhara valley just 15 Km away. It lies between 28020'N latitude and 83058'E longitude. The study area is dominated by Brahmins followed by Kami, Gurung, Damai, Sarki etc. The study area ranges between 990 to 1200 m a.s.l. The people depend upon the forest resources, which is Schima-Castanopsis forest and lies in North facing slope.
Present study was conducted in October and November 2004. Information on uses of plant species and their current status were gathered by participatory methods such as Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), focus group discussion and key informant interviews. The documented information was further verified by group discussions and going through the relevant literatures (Joshi and Joshi, 2001 and Manandhar 2002). The voucher specimens were identified with the help of standard literatures (Stainton, 1997; Polunin & Stainton, 2000; Press et al., 2000) and cross-checking with the specimens of Tribhuvan University Central Department of Botany Herbarium (TUCH). The specimens are deposited at TUCH.
Results and Discussion
Plants used as medicines
Forests of the study area provide a number of medicinal plant resources used for combating different health problems of human and livestock (Appendix 1). Out of 116 plant species, 58 plant species are used for medicinal purposes. Plants as a whole or its parts in the form of juice, decoction, ash or infusion are prescribed.
Plants used as food, Fruits and vegetables
Underground parts of Dioscorea sagittata and Colocasia antiquorum are used as food value during scarcity. Edible wild fruits are obtained from 22 different plant species (Appendix 1). Fruits of Rubus ellipticus and Citrus medica are sold in the markets of Pokhara valley. Whole plants or different parts of 20 plant species are used as vegetables (Appendix 1). Young shoots of Asparagus racemosus, Dryopteris colcheata and Thamnocalamus spathiflorus (Tusa) are collected and sold in Pokhara valley in high amount.
Plants used as fodder and forages
Altogether 56 plant species are used as fodder and forages. Seasonal grazing is allowed in the forest. After the inclusion of some part of the forest in community forest, only the remaining part of the forest is allowed for grazing.
Plants used for farming and manure
Leaves of Artimesia indica, Eupatorium adenophorum are used to prepare green manure. Dried leaves of Schima wallichii are collected to prepare compost as well as to provide bedding to animals during winter season.
Plants used for Timber and fuelwood
Altogether 19 plants are used for timber. Among them mostly used are Castanopsis indica, Schima wallichii, Engelhardia spicata. 45 plant species are used as fuel wood (Appendix 1).
Altogether 11 plants are used as religious. Cynodon dactylon is used in worshiping god 'Ganesh' and during 'Bhaitika'. Stems of Archyranthes aspera are used by women in 'Teej' (Rishi Panchami). Desmostachya bipinnata leaves are compulsary in Hindu culture i.e. during annual funeral ceremony called 'Sharad' and different 'Pujas'. Plants of Ficus bengalensis and F. religiosa are worshiped by women on Monday and Saturday. Leaves of Castanopsis indica and Atrocarpus lakoocha are used to prepare 'Duna' and 'Taparies' which are used as plates during 'Pujas'.
Plants used for pickles
Fruits of Rhus javanica, young stems of Begonia picta, young leaves of Crateva unilocularis, young bud and flower of Bauhinia purpurea are used to prepare pickles.
Current Status of Plants
According to the local people, out of 116 forest plant species, 65 plant species are in their medium state followed by 36 plant species that are decreasing in their population and 15 plant species with high population. (Appendix 1).
The villagers use different forest plant species in their daily life. Documentation of such informations is useful for further generations and well as for their daily lives. Detailed study upon the ethnobotanical studies is necessary to document the traditional knowledge that is at the state of disappearance.
The author is thankful to the local people of the study area especially the elders who have provided valuable informations about the use of plant species and helped in the collection of information.
Chaudhary, R.P. 1998. Biodiversity in Nepal: Status and Conservation. S. Devi, Sharanpur, India and Tecpress Books, Bangkok, Thailand.
DPR, 2001. Flowering Plants of Nepal (Phenerogams). His Majesty’s Government, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Department of Plant Resources, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Famsworth, N.R., Akerele, O.,Bingel, A.S., Soejarto, D.D., Guo, Z. 1985. Medicinal plants in therapy. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 63, 965-981.
FAO, 2007. State of the world forest. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Joshi, K.K and S.D. Joshi. 2001. Genetic Heritage of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Nepal Himalayas. Buddha Academic Publishers and Distributors Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu, Nepal. pp 239.
Manandhar, M.S. (1999) Evolution of Himalaya. Nepal Nature's Paradise (eds. T.C. Majupuria and R.K. Majupuria), pp. 13-17. M. Devi, Gwalior, India.
Manandhar, N.P. 2002. Plants and People of Nepal. Timber Press, Oregan, USA, pp500.
MOPE, 2000. Nepal’s State of Environment. His Majesty’s Government, Ministry of Population and Environment, Kathmandu.
Polunin, O. and Stainton, A. 2000. Flowers of the Himalaya. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India.545p.
Press, L., Shrestha, K.K. and Sutton, D.A. 2000. Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal. The Natural History Museum, London.
Stainton, A. 1997. Flowers of the Himalaya: A Supplement. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India. 72p+128 plates
Appendix 1 List of Forest Plant species with their different uses in Sardikhola VDC.
+ : Used; - : Not used; 1: Medicinal; 2: Food; 3: Fruits; 4: Vegetables; 5: Fodder and Forages; 6: Timber; 7: Fuelwood; 8: Religious; 9: Ornamental; 10: Miscellaneous