This year sees Britain and Nepal celebrating 200 years of bilateral relations between the two countries. Around 40,000 people (an ever-increasing number) visit Nepal each year and it’s not difficult to see why: alongside their rich cultural history, the land that the Nepalese call home is comprised of awe-inspiring mountain ranges and diverse wildlife. There’s also an abundance of wonderful flora in the region, which we here at Floom - naturally - thought we would showcase as part of the celebrations! As the world seems increasingly divided, it’s evermore important to remember the ways in which we have come together as a planet over the years (seen not least in the way communities from all over the world extended a hand in the aftermath of last year’s terrible earthquakes).
But now: the flora!
Let’s start with the majestic national flower of Nepal - this ‘tree rhododendron’ offers a startling show of brightly-coloured plumage as it soars to heights averaging 12 metres. The pleasingly titled cinnamomeum is a common subspecies, so named because of the cinnamon brown hairs that whisker out from its leaves.
There’s a bit of mystery surrounding this frilly red flower, as the botany world is yet to properly define it as an individual species of plant. What we do know is that its from the same overarching family as buckwheat, which is probably explains why the Nepalese use its dried rhizomes as food. The common English name for it is the red knotweed, which isn’t the most enticing for such a pretty little plant. We prefer the sound of the Nepalese name: the Dalle Jhar.
These hardy little fellows thrive at high altitudes, and can be found across the mountains of Nepal. There’s something pleasingly cute about the plump little circular petals that encircle their flowers, inspiring something akin to that feeling you get when a cute animal video catches you off guard and you can’t help but drop the too-cool-for-school facade you’ve spent so long assembling in order to share ecstatically amongst friends. Just take a read of these common names if you need any further convincing of its particular qualities: the golden hardhack, the widdy and… the shrubby five finger! Emoji-with-the-love-heart-eyes all round.
These are kind of weird, right? Bell-shaped, off-white flowers that look almost liquid-like in their appearance. They grow from a yellow vine and are often referred to as The Golden Vine which sounds pretty grandiose for a parasitic plant that basically survives by strangling and feeding off whatever host plants it can wrap its tentacles around (it doesn’t have any roots or stems of its own). Its redeeming features come in the form of its supposed medicinal properties, having been used traditionally to treat everything from headaches and labour pain to bone fractures.
…Or, if you prefer: the triple-nerved pearly everlasting (!), which it’s more commonly known as. Their papery flowers are everlasting which I assume is a bit of classic botany hyperbole but we’ll run with it. I’m looking at them now and trying to imagine which dinosaurs this particular bunch managed to avoid in order to make it this far. What’s undisputed is how pleasing to the eye they are, however long they may last: wooly stems bunched together, offering muted grey-green leaves and those cloud-like clusters of ivory petals.
Bistorta Macrophylla - florawonder
Cuscuta Reflexa - wikimedia