There are over 6500 species of trees, bushes and flowers
In the temperate areas flowers start blooming when winter ends. The only time that flowers really bloom in the temperate and alpine area is during the monsoon season. During this time the landscape abound with brightly colored flowers. In the higher elevation valleys there are buttercups, polygonums, scrophs, mints, composites and cinquefoils. In the alpine areas there are junipers, saxifrages, primulas, rhododendrons,
cotoneasters and ephedras.
In the subtropics flowers bloom as the temperature gets warmer.
The main flower season is March and April when the rhododendrons are in their full glory. The large white magnolias, orchids, lavender primuds, and blue irises. There are also flowers on the bushes.
In western Nepal the best time to see flowers is July and August. It gets less rain than the rest of Nepal, so it is more comfortable to visit during the monsoon than other places. At lower elevation there are orchids, roses, campanlas, impatiens, anemones, corydalis and edelweiss. In the alpine areas there are geraniums, saxifrages proliferate, poppies, larkspurs and sediums.
In the Himalaya area there are astragalus, Ionicera (from honeysuckle family) and caragana.
Just after the monsoon in October and November most of the flowers are gone. Some flowers may be seen in the subtropical areas such as mauve osbeckia, yellow St John’s wort and pink luculia. Also there are reds flowers on barberry bushes, flowers on the cherry trees and the yellow of the withering maples. In the temperate areas there are blue gentians.
There are over 300 types of orchids in Nepal.
Eupatorium is called ban mara or “death to the forest” by the Nepalis. It is a red-stemmed daisy that has heart-shaped leaves. It is a native of South America that was introduced to Nepal in the19th century. It is spread all over the subtropical and temperate areas. It takes over deforested areas and is not eaten by animal, not even goats. It is seen as a sign of environmental decline.
Two tree are often seen the banyan and pipal tree. They are considered very holy and are often found near temples, holy place and rest areas along walking routes. Banyan trees have hanging roots and elliptical leaves. They can often been huge as the roots connect and different inter-connecting trunks may grow.
Pipal have heart-shared leaves. The pipal is considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhist. It is believed that the Buddha attained enlightenment under a pipal tree. Hindus believe that the banyan tree to be an embodiment of Laksmi, the goddess of fortune and consort of Lord Vishnu. The pipal is seen as the embodiment of Lord Narayan (Vishnu).
Bamboo is seen throughout Nepal. Giant bamboo is seen in the tropics and dwarf bamboo in the temperate areas. The grass species is used for building and for making baskets.
Nepal is found at a southern point, equal to central Florida. Species that are found in tropical area are found in Nepal. Because of its high elevation species found in Europe are also found in Nepal.
Depending on the slope of a hill or mountain, the climate and vegetation can change. The south and east slopes get more sun and therefore are drier. The north and west faces receive less sun and are more rain and have a higher selection of vegetation.
At elevation increases so also does rainfall up to 2700m. After 2700m there is almost no rain and crop can not grow above this level. As the elevation increases the temperature decreases which influence vegetation.
It rains more in eastern Nepal than the west. East of the Kali Gandaki Valley species are typically those found in wet forests. In the west, species are those are found to exist in drier area.
The main tree to be found at this level is the Sal (shorea robusta), a semideciduous hardwood. It is found all over Nepal. It has wide leaves that are used to make plates. It is wood is used in building. There are also rosewood and acacia trees, and areas of high elephant grass. The grass is burned off in the winter, or it would be taken over by the sal forest.
The red silk cotton has red flowers in the spring. From these trees comes a cotton (kapok) that is used to stuff pillows and mattresses. When younger these trees have thorny trunks and when older they are smooth.
Subtropical Zone (1000m to 2000m)
The main vegetation here is the chesnut and tea species. Chestnut flower in the fall and the tea species has white flowers in the late spring.
In the west is found the chir pine, which has long needles in three bundles. They can also be found in the east in the dryer southern slope areas.
Lower Temperate Zone (1500m to 2600m)
The main species in this area is evergreen oak. Birch and Alder can be found around waterways.
In western Nepal, found usually on the west and north faces are maple, walnut and horse chestnut. There are many blue-pine forests in western Nepal, found mainly on south faces. It has shorter needles (in bundles of five) than the chir pine and it has long cones.
Upper Temperate Zone (2500m to 4000m)
There are two types of evergreen oak that are found here, with two different types of leaves. Mainly found are rhododendron forests with fir and hemlock interspersed. There are over 30 species of rhododendron in Nepal. The Rhododendron arboreum is the national flower. It has different colors from white to red.
In the west there are blue pine, with spruce and fir. In the east there is blue pine, hemlocks, fers and yews. Also found is forests of maple and laurel.
Subalpine Zone (3000m to 4000m)
East of the Kali Gandaki only birch is the only tree found up to the tree line, and in some area there are only rhododendron bushes and bamboo. In the west there are silver fir, birch and oak. In dry areas juniper can be found up to the tree line.
Forest are found higher up in western Nepal than in the rest of the country because it does not rain as much.
Apline Zone (4000m to snow line)
Under the toughest wild flowers can survive here because of the extremely cold temperature and often lack of rain. Plants often have thick underground stems. Much of the vegetation to survive is of the type found in the Tibetan plateau. The stellara can exist above 5500m.
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