New Frontiers of Knowledge on Nepalese Plant Science

  • Shrestha, Gyan L. (Asia Network for Small Scale Agricultural Biotechnologies (ANSAB)) ;
  • Shrestha, Bhushan (Botany and biotechnology, Tribhuwan University)
  • Received : 1993.09.24
  • Published : 1994.03.30


Nepal, with its unique geographical and ecological features due to its abrupt rise in altitude, plays significant role in biological evolution. Existence of numerous wild relatives of the present-day cultivated agricultural crop plants in this small Himalayan nation may serve as a potential source of several yet unidentified desirable genes that are needed for future incorporation in the improvement of cultivated crop plants. This report includes 82 different wild relatives of 41 genera under 19 families of 37 agricultural crops of Nepal(Table 1). It serves as the sample of the glossary of these wild relatives of crop plants in Nepal. Under food grain crop plants of gramineae, leguminoceae and polygonaceae families, 16 different wild species namely wild rices(7 species), wild relatives of wheat plant(3 species), wild arhar(3 species), wild fingermillets(1 species) and wild buckwheat(2 species) have been identified in different parts of the country. Similarly, under vegetable crop plants of Araceae, Amaranthaceae, Crucifereae, Cucurbitaceae, Dioscoreaceae, Labiteae, Leguminosae, Liliaceae, Malvaceae, Polygonaceae, Solanaceae and Umbellifereae, 37 different wild species-wild colocasia(1 species), wild amaranths(3 species), wild leafy vegetables(2 species), wild gourds(3 species), wild cucumber(1 species), wild yams(4 species), wild mints(3 species), wild fenugreeks(4 species), wild pea(1 species), wild beans(3 species), wild garlics(2 species), wild spinach(3 species), wild lady's finger(1 species), wild spinach(3 species), wild eggplants(2 species) and wild carrot(one species) have also been identified. In case of wild relatives of cultivated orchard plants, 11 different wild species namely wild mango(one species), wild banana(one species), wild strawberry(one species), wild pear(one species), wild cherries(2 species), wild apple(one species) and wild grapes(3 species) have been identified, Among 19 different wild species of economic crop plants, five wild species of sugarcane, one species of wild sunhemp, two wild relatives of cotton, three wild relatives of rose, two wild species of tobacco, four wild species of turmeric and two wild species of tea have also been identified. This report includes only sample of the total wild species of the present-day cultivated agricultural crop plants. Further exploration on this economic botany will help the country in cataloging the wild relatives of cultivated crop plants and their future use in crop improvement.