Wild Orchids (Orchidaceae) of Nepal
While walking along lower, wooded trails in Nepal, walk slowly and keep your eyes open for some of the world’s most beautiful flowers.
While Orchids are found all over the world, Nepal boasts over 350 unique species of orchids that are only found in the Himalayan ranges. Nepal’s moist atmosphere and cloudy forests are a paradise for orchids and every year several more species of orchids are discovered in Nepal. Unfortunately, orchid smugglers are now becoming an increasing problem as people discover how truly miraculous Nepali orchids are and put a high value on them.
About Nepal’s Orchids
The Orchidaceae family is vast so it is hard to make general comments about a truly diverse family of flowers. It is known that they are ancient flowers that could be as old as 75 million years, meaning that they lived in coexistence with dinosaurs. Many orchids are epiphytes, plants that grow on top of other organisms in order to survive. Orchids can be seen growing out of the sides of trees and can be recognize by their large flowers and woody stems. While many orchids will often have one large flower, this is not true of all orchids, some of which have large bundles of smaller flowers. Perhaps the most universal feature of the orchid is its reproductive limitations. Orchids have highly specialized pollination systems and for many species the chances of being pollinated are scarce. However, for every successful pollination that does occur, thousands of ovules can be fertilized, perhaps the only reason the species has continued throughout the millennia.