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  • Writer's pictureKathryn

Autumn Flowers - the garden of Nepal

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

Spring is the time to visit Nepal to see its national flower, the Rhododenron in bloom. Known as Lali Gurans in Nepali it flowers from mid-March at lower altitudes to May in higher locations.

However, after the monsoon in late September when we travelled to the Nepal Himalayas it was one of the unexpected joys of our trek to see so many wild flowers in bloom as well as the native grasses, ferns, shrubs and trees at their best after the west season. The Himalayas are the origin of many garden plants brought back by the plant hunters of earlier centuries and I recognised many that I have in my own garden - beautiful here in their natural habitat.

The Manaslu Circuit trek has a huge change in altitude from Soti Khola at only 740m, up to the Larkya La pass at 5106m and down again to Dharapani at 1960m and on the journey you pass through a bio-diverse range of climatic zones, from low altitude, sub-tropical forests of bamboo and pine with huge evergreen shrubs, though the cloud-forest and pastures of the temperate zone, with oak and pine trees drapped with epiphytes to the high alpine zone with dwarf shrubs like Juniper and Berberis alongside grasses and alpine flowers. The flora and fauna are continously changing and are as interesting and enticing as the dramatic gorge and spectacular mountain views most come to see.

Here are a few of the many beautiful flowers and plants we saw, with my best effort of identification (no guarantees!). With grateful thanks to John Borthwick from Australia who we met on our trek who provided many of the photos:

Delphinium kamaonense - looking rare and delicate but actually quite common in the Budhi Gandaki Valley


The grasses and ferns were just as beautiful as the flowers especially dripping from the recent rain or mist:

Rocks of the Budhi Gandaki river gorge on the Manasulu Circuit drapped with native grasses
Native ferns
Panicums in flower lining the trail

Autumn colours in the Nar Phu Valley

Pine forest with epiphytes including lichens, ferns and mosses on the descent to Dharapani

And many of the shrubs were in flower or verdant from the rains:


Sarcococca - common in shady spots and likely to smell wonderful in early winter

or looking good as they were tinged with autumn colour:

Paper bark birches starting to colour in the Autumn - near Bhimtang in Nepal

Hill-side carpeted with berberis and native grasses on the descent to Ngawal nr Manang

Of course there are beautiful flowers in cultivation too! The Marigold is a special flower for the Nepalese used in gardens and pots outside houses and to make garlands and for decorating homes and temples. You'll see these everywhere and they make a great foreground for photos of the spectacular mountains!

Just a few of the plants we saw on our trip - I hope it entices you to make a trip to Nepal soon to witness its wonderous landscape and plant life for yourself - whatever the season it will be a trip to remember forever!

Visit and take your first step!

Related websites for Plants of the Himalayas:

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