Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 832-40. 2008.



Ethnobotanical Studies on Some Lower Plants of the Central Development Region, Nepal


Kunjani Joshi* and Ananda Raj Joshi**


*Department of Botany, Patan Campus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

**Former Director General, South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP), Sri Lanka

E-mail: , [email protected]


Issued 30 October 2008




Forty-eight lower plants used by the local communities of the villages of the Central Development Region, Nepal are reported based on a field survey. Local people have remarkable detailed knowledge of species identity, characteristics and their specific uses. At present, some species are under serious threat due to habitat destruction and over exploitation indicating urgent need of documentation and conservation of the useful plants and their habitats.


Keywords: Lower plants, mushrooms, pteridophytes, traditional knowledge, conservation.



The Central Development Region of Nepal are phytogeographically a diverse terrain and very rich in biodiversity and offers immense scope for ethnobotanical studies. In spite of the fast modernization process, the local communities of these areas still hold on to their traditional faith and depend on indigenous plants for their various domestic needs and traditional medicine. However, at present, the useful plants and their ethno-information are being eroded as a result of loss or degraded of appropriate habitats of the plants, unsustainable land use activities and over-exploitation of natural resources. Hence priority  should be given  to document the   useful  plants and their uses along with local knowledge and practices before these plants are eliminated from the areas. During the ethnobotanical survey of Nepal, an attempt has been made to document the useful lower plants with existing traditional practices which are being  used by various tribes of  the villages and surrounding areas of the region. Although some works related to the ethnobotany of the  region have  already been carried out by  Bhandary and Shrestha, (1982, 1999); Bista et al., (2002); Chaudhary, (1994); Dangol and Gurung, (1999); Gurung, (1999); Joshi, (1988, 1992); Joshi and Edington, (1990); Joshi and Joshi (2000, 2003, 2005, 2005a &b); Joshi et al., (1996, 2003); Joshi, K. (1991, 1996, 2000, 2003 7 b, 2004, 2005); and Manandhar (2002), the vast store of ethnobotanical information of lower plants with traditional knowledge and practices have still not been comprehensively documented. In the present paper, an attempt has been made to enumerate the useful lower plants with indigenous uses. 


Materials and Methods

  The ethnobotanical study was carried out in the villages and surrounding areas  of the  Sundarijal, Mahakal, Okharni, Mulkhadka, Tokha, Nagarjun, Nagarkot, Suryabinayak, Nala, Bajrajogini, Changu, Phulchoki, Godavari, Lele, of Kathmandu valley and  Kakani, Thansing, Talakhu, Matragau, Thanapati, Likhu of  Nuwakot district and Syabru of Rasuwa district. Several field trips in and around the study areas  were undertaken during the years 2005 to 2007 with a view to document the indigenous practices and uses of  plant resources. Ethnobotanical information was gathered mainly through repeated interview and open-ended participatory discussions with local informants, such as traditional healers / “jkankri”, teachers and experienced village elders including midwives  and  by direct observations on the way different plant materials were being collected and used (Joshi and Edington, 1990). Voucher specimens are deposited in the office of Biodiversity Management Programme (BMP), Environmental Management Action (EMA) Group, Kathmandu, Nepal.




During the field survey, ethnobotanical information of 48 species of  plants have been collected from various habitats of the study areas. In the following enumeration, the species are arranged alphabetically in two groups (Mushrooms and Pteridophytes), Botanical name followed Nepalese name (Nep.), uses and habitat. Among the documented species, 41 species were used as food and 9 species for treatment of diseases, 1 species for fuel and 1 species for mulching. Though these species are distributed in various habitats, most of the species are mainly confined to the forests.


Enumeration of Species


 Amanita caesarea (Scop. ex Fr.) Pers. ex Schw.

Nep. Salla chyau; Suntale chyau; Dhar shyamo; Phul chyau

Uses: edible, use in culinary purpose, mostly preferred by Tamang  

        community. It is also sold in Asan market, Kathmandu with Amanita  


Habitat: Moist places, dominantly found in the pine forest, Nagarkot and   

       Tokha, Kathmandu valley.


Amanita hemibapha (Berk. et Br.) Sacc. subsp. hemibapha Corner & Bas.

Nep. Dhar shyamo, Suntale chyau, Phul chyau

Use:  whole aerial parts are eaten as vegetables. It is also sold in Kathmandu    

       market mixed with Amanita ceasarea, Amanita hemibapha subsp.similis  

        and Aminata hamibapha subsp. javanica,

Habitat:  moist shady places of pine forest, Nagarkot.


 Amanita hemibapha (Berk. et Br.) Sacc. subsp. Javanica Corner & Bas.

         Nep.Dhar shyamo

          Use: edible. It is also sold mixed with Amanita ceaserea, Amanita 

                   hemibapha  var. hemibapha in market,.

          Habitat: moist soil in pine forest, Nagarkot


 Amanita hemibapha (Berk et. Br.) Sacc. Subsp.similis

         Nep: Dhar shyamo. 

 Use: edible. It is also sold in Kathamndu market (Asan) with Amanita      

         hemibapha subsp. hemibapha, .

        Habitat : moist soil in pine forest, Nagarkot


  Auricularia auricula (Hook.) Underwood

        Nep. Kane chyau; Mushkane chyau; Naryang shyamo, Chiple chyau

        Use: edible, few people used for culinary purpose.

         Habitat: rotten stump of Gravelia robusta, Nagarjun, Kathmandu


 Boletus edulis Bull ex Fr.

        Nep. Pho shyamo

        Use: edible, mostly used by Tamang community.

        Habitat:  moist shady places in mixed forest, Suryavinayak


 Cantharellus cibarius Fr.

       Nep. Ura shyamo; Kukhure Ko phul chyau

       Use: edible. It is also sold in Asan market, Kathmandu

       Habitat:  moist places in mixed forests of pine and other decedious trees, 



 Cantharellus subalbidus Fr.

       Nep. Ura shyamo, Kurkure chyau

       Use: edible.  It is also sold in Asan market, Kathmandu,.

       Habitat:   moist places of mixed forests, Sundarijal


Cantharellus tubiformis Fr.

       Nep. Budhi chyau

        Use: edible

       Habitat:   moist places of mixed forests, Sundarijal


Clavaria cristata (Holmsk) Pers

      Nep. Thokre chyau; Thakre chyau

      Use: edible. It is also sold in Asan market, Kathmandu,.

      Habitat:  moist places of mixed forests .Godavari.


Clavulina cinera (Fr.) Corner

      Use: edible/  It is also sold  in  market with Laccaria laccata, Kathmandu

      Habitat:  moist places in mixed forest, Suryavinayak  and  Nala.


 Craterellus cornucopoides (L. ex. Fr.) Pers

       Use: edible. It is also sold  in Tarkari market, Daubahal with Cantharellus 


       Habitat: moist places, Godavari.


Grifola frondosa (Dick ex Fr.) S.F. Gray

       Nep : Sulshing marmo, Nagroom, Bhalu chyau

       Use: edible. It is also sold  in Sundarijal market,.

      Habitat:  moist places in mixed forests, Sundarijal and  Lele.       


 Hericium erinaceus (Bull) Pers.

       Nep. Thokre chyau; Thankar shyamo.

       Use: edible. It is sold in Ashan market, Kathmandu


 Hydnum repandum L.

        Nep. Chwali shyamo, Ura shyamo, Chwali ura shyamo.

        Use: edible, sometime eaten raw, preferred by Tamang community.

        Habitat: moist places covered with pine litter, pine forest, Tokha 


 Laccaria laccata (Scop. ex Fr.) Berk & Br.

        Nep. Budhi chyau; Jhari chyau, Kurkure chyau, Bhuinbapale chyau,


        Use: edible, mostly preferred by Tamang and Newar ethenic cast.  It is also  

                sold in Kathmandu market

        Habitat:  moist shady and open places in Pinus roxburghii forest  and  in 

                  mixed  forest, Tokha,   Sundarijal, Lele , Bajrayogini and  



 Lactarius piperatus (Fr.) S.F. Gray

       Nep. Dudhe chyau, Nghe shyamo

       Use: edible,  but not   preferred.

       Habitat: pine forest, Nagarkot 


 Laetiporus sulphureus (Fr.) Murr

       Nep. Wala shyamo; Sulsingwala marmo

       Use: edible.  It is also sold in Asan market ,.

       Habitat: moist places, Sundarijal.


 Lentinellus sp

       Use: edible. It is also sold in Kathmandu  market with Pleurotus 


       Habitat: forest, Tokha.


 Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeffer ex Fr.

       Nep. Phusphure chyau; Nagala Phum shyamo.

       Use: edible;

       Habitat:  moist places in mixed tropical forests, Kakani  and Changu.   


Meripilus giganteus (Fr.) Karst

      Nep. Bhalu Chyau

      Use: edible

      Habitat:  Quercus stump, Phulchoki 


Oudemansiella radicate (Rehl ex Fr.) Singer

     Nep. Kagkhutte chyau, Tang shyamo

     Use: edible, roasted on fire or fried with various things.

     Habitat: soil in open moist places, Suryavinayak, Lele  and  Kakani.  


 Pleurotus cornucopiae (Paul ex Pers) Rolland

          Use: edible, The mushrooms are sold in  Asan market, Kathmandu and 

                      Mangal Bazar, Patan, 


 Pleurotus pulmonarius (Fr.) Quel

     Nep. Kande chyau

     Use: edible. It is sold in Kathmandu  market, mixed with Pleurotus conucopiae   

            and  Lentinellus spp.,


Polyporus arcularius Fr.

      Use: edible.  It is also sold at Asan market, Kathmandu

       Habitat: moist places of forest, Phulchowki


 Polyporus varius Fr.

      Use: edible.

              This species is sold in Kathmandu  Market


Ramaria aurea (Fr.) Quel.

       Nep. Thakre chyau

        Use: edible It is also sold in Kathmandu  market

        Habitat:  moist places of pine forests, Nagarkot and  Lele .


 Ramaria botrytis (Pers.) Ricken

       Nep. Thekre chyau

        Use: edible. It is also sold at Asan market, Kathmandu

         Habitat:  soil in moist places in  pine forest, Kakani .


 Ramaria flava (Fr.) Quel

       Nep. Thokre chyau

        Use: edible. It is also  sold at Kathmandu  market.

         Habitat:  soil in  pine forest, Kakani


 Ramaria formosa (Fr.) Quel.

       Nep. Thokre chyau

        Use: edible.

         Habitat: It is sold at Asan market mixed with Ramaria aurea and  Ramaria     



 Russula adusta Fr.

       Nep. Kan shyamo

       Use: edible, but poor in taste.

       Habitat:  moist shady places in pine forest or in mixed forests, Lele ,   

                 Nagarkot,  Bajrayogine  and  Matatirtha.


 Russula densifolia Gill

     Use:edible, but poor  in taste.

     Habitat: moist shady places in pine forests,Bajrnyogini, Lele and                  



 Scleroderma citrinum Pers

       Nep. Phusphure chyau, Dalle chyau, Til chyau, Shakan shyamo, Allu chyau,  

               Pattun chyau.

       Use: edible. It is also sold in Asan market, Kathmandu

        Habitat:  soil in moist places of the mixed forest, Matatirtha,                          

               Sundarijal and Changu , 


Termitomyces eurhizus (Berk) Heim

       Nep. Kalunge chyau, Puchina, Jhyarno, Chyarmo, Kalunge

       Use: edible, aerial parts are eaten after roasted.  It is also sold in Kathmandu  


      Habitat: ` moist soil  in pine forest as well as  in mixed forests, Nagarkot , 

                   and Kakani   





 Adiantum Capillus veneris (Linn.) Adiantaceae

  Nep. Rani uneu

  Use:  A paste made from the fronds is applied to the forehead to relieve  

headaches and to the chest to relieve chest pains; decoction of  

plant is drunk to treat whooping cough and throat and bronchial  

disorders; squeezed leaf juice is applied on wounds.

     Habitat: stone crevices and rocky slopes, Kakani


 Adiantum caudatum L. Adiantaceae

          Nep. Uneu

          Use: Green leaves are pounded in water and juice is applied to the affected area of skin infection; dried leaf is decocted and then drunk to treat cough and fever;  leaf juice is taken to cure diabetes.

          Habitat:  stone crevices and rocky slopes, Kakani and Talakhu of  Nuwakot district.


 Adiantum incisum Forssk,  Adiantaceae

          Nep. Uneu

          Use: Frond is squeezed between thumb and then juice is applied externally to cure scabies.

          Habitat: Forests, Matragau, Nuwakot district.


 Diplazium stoliczkae Bedd. Aspidiaceae

   Nep. Kalo neuro

   Use : The tender shoots are commonly eaten as delicious vegetable.

           Habitat: Forest,  Kakani and Syabru


Deparia boryana (Willd.) M. Kato., Woodsiaceae

Nep. Kaloneuro

Use: Young parts are eaten as vegetable.

Habitat: Forest, Thanapati


Dryopteris cochleata (D. Don.) C. Chr. Aspidiaceae.

   Nep. Dantheneuro

   Use : The tender shoots are consumed as vegetable after boiling and are used to    

             sell  in market; juice extracted from the fronds is used to treat muscular 

             and rheumatic  pain

   Habitat: Forest, waste moist  areas, Thansing, Kakani, Mulkhadka, Okharni and 

              adjoining areas


 Dryothyrium boryanum (Willd.) Ching., Aspidiaceae

     Nep. Kaloneuro

     Use : The young parts are eaten as vegetable.

      Habitat: Forest, Sundarijal  


Equisetum debile Roxb. ex Vaucher,  Equisetaceae

         Nep. Ankhe jhar, kurkure

         Use: Plants are pounded and paste is then applied in bone facture and also used to cure old ulcers.

         Habitat: stagnant water, shady moist areas, Kakani and  Likhu, Nuwakot district


Geleichenia gigantea Wall ex Hook & Bauer. Gleicheniaceae

Use: Frond is used as fuel and  mulching.

Habitat: Profoundly occur on dry exposed areas, Thansing


Lycopodium clavatum L.  Lycopodiaceae,

Nep. Nagbeli jhar;

Use: decoction of  shoot is drunk three times a day for stomach ache;  

      spores are used to treat cuts and wounds;  plant decoction is used    

      in  rheumatism.

Habitat: forest, exposed slopes, Okharni, Mulkhadka and Thansing


 Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) Presl. Davalliaceae

  Nep. Pani-amala, Pani saro

  Use: Fleshy tubers are eaten by village children. Herb is used against cough and   

        skin  diseases; water bulbs are taken to cure Leocorrhea.

           Habitat: Shady or dry open places, Kakani and Syabru.


Polystichum squarrosum (D. Don)  Fee.  Aspidiaceae

           Nep. Phusre neuro, Bhyagnte neuro, Thulo neuro

           Use: Tender shoots are consumed.

           Habitat: Shady as well as exposed parts of the forest, Mahakal and Syabru,   


Pteridium aquilinum (L) Kuhn. Dennstaedtiaceae

Nep. Uneu  

Use: Young frond is eaten as vegetable; Decoction of rhizome is used for   

            the treatment of spleen.

            Habitat: Exposed area, moist places, Kakani


Selaginella biformis A. Br. ex Kuhn. Selaginellaceae 

        Nep. Sindure

         Use:  powder of strobilus is applied on cuts and wounds to stop                    


         Habitat: shady  slopes, riversides,  Kakani.   



The present study revealed that wild plants are widely used to fulfill  basic needs and for therapeutic purposes in the villages of the Central Development Region. Ramaria aurea  and Ramaria flava are considered as nonedible  species in Japan (Imazeki et al. 1988), but they are used as vegetable in Kathmandu valley (Joshi and Joshi, 1999). The local inhabitants  of the study areas have developed a  traditional knowledge system related to utilisation of  plant resources in a sustainable manner. Especially, women have significant knowledge regarding usefulness of the plants and their parts.  But when questioned about the changing status of the existing plants, our respondents listed some important species such as Auricularia auricula and Cantharellus cibarius which have also declined in abundance during the last decade. Hence, efforts should be directed to conserve the valuable species and their habitats with the implementation of locally appropriatesustainable management   measures involving local participation.



The authors are thankful to local informants for providing information. 




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