As the Monsoon rains sweep across the narrow lanes, Nepal comes to life with colorful flowers- a serene respite from the sweltering heat of the previous month. The summer/monsoon month is when Nepal is covered in lush green Hues. Mother nature has blessed the country with bountiful biodiversity and its Flora reflects this richness due to the variation in climate and altitudes.
The country is home to more than 7000 spaces of flowering plants with 283 species that are endemic to its boundaries. If 8 of the world’s tallest mountains above 8000 meters make the Crown of the nation then the flower makes the precious jewels that drone it. let’s read about 5 of the most commonly found flowers in Nepal and why they hold significance in the Nepali culture…
Our memories of Dashain and Tihar would not be complete without these bright yellow pops of colors decorating our home and garden. Marigold flowers have auspicious status during one of the biggest celebrations as they are used as decoration and offering to the god. These pretty flowers grow between 0.1 Meters to 2.2 meters tall and are often found in bright yellow and Golden orange color with Green Leaves. The flower head contains many small petals group together which is why this flower is called sayapatri – ‘Sai’ means hundred and Patri means Petals. It often sees a surge in cultivation during the Dashain and Tihar Seasons as seen in the hands of street vendors in New Road and all over Nepal. They give a musky but a light pungent smell- nothing too overpowering.
Poinsettia (Lalu Pate)
Poinsettia is one of the most commonly planted flowers in Nepal. If you see a bright flash of red flowers that almost look like leaves but aren’t green, then it is most definitely poinsettia. These can grow from 0.6 to 4 meters in height and are essentially shrubs. The bright flaming red flowers are actually the leaves while the flowers themselves are yellow in color but tiny in comparison. This is why it is called Lalu Patti in Nepali, Lalu meaning red and pate meaning leafy. This flower is popular at Christmas time mainly due to its colors and is often call Christmas flower. This perfectly coincides with its flowering season i.e. November and December.
Red Rhododendron (Laliguras) National Flower of Nepal
It is found in the hilly areas across Nepal, The country is home to more than 30 species of the Rhododendron and this must be the reason why this flower was chosen to be the national emblem. it blossoms from March to April and Against the greenery the flower stands out in a deep shade of Scarlet, creating one of the most beautiful sights. The plant can grow up to 15 meters in height and the flower head holds 7-8 bulbs of small florets. They can also be found in pink and white in color too. If you visit the countryside during the flowering season, you can often spot this on the hair buns of the female cattle herders. Lali guras flower is edible and is consumed to cure diseases like dysentery, however, Rhododendron tea should be drunk with caution as they give a very strong sweet scent.
Purple globe Amaranth (Makhamaliphool)
Another flower that is reminiscent of cultural celebration in Nepal is a purple globe Amaranth. This is a stout plant that grows up to 6 cm in height. The flower head is a Deep magenta shade with an Amber off white, pink and purple within its florets. Along with Marigold, purple globe Amaranth are used to make garlands during ‘Bhaitika’ Brothers Day celebrated on the last for 5th day of Tihar because they retain their color and shape even after they dry. Signifying a sister’s wish for her brother’s long life. The flower is called Makhamali because the flower feels velvety and smooth to the touch but it does not have any smell.
whatever the occasion may be flowers are accepted as the perfect companion in life or death. Humans have known to admire flowers since time immemorial. Van Gogh admired sunflower as much as monet loved water lilies. Each flower mentioned above holds Cultural significance in Nepal.
385 types of Orchids have been registered as growing in Nepal and this number is still increasing making this flower is one of the rare jewels of the Crown. Orchids are usually found growing in the cloudy and moist forests often leaning on to another vigorous plant like a tree for supports. Orchards are highly valued for their quality as well as their importance in herbal medicine. Orchids are often the most prized possessions of the flower lover. If you want to see Orchids in full bloom then visit the Godavari Botanical Garden between March-April and July –August.
You can read about Godavari Botanical garden here.