Sunday, May 28, 2017

The flora of Sikkim

Sikkim is a botanist's dream come true.
I am not a botanist, but the sheer variety or plants and leaves leaves one speechless.

So this trip, I tried to find out more about the local flora of Sikkim. To my utter dismay, while there were articles on the internet, not one of them referred to the local names of the plants. They had weird Latin names and some description. But the thing is, the people who live in these places have had a long standing relationship with these plants. They have names, and uses and truly a deep connect. Why is that knowledge not being captured anywhere?

So this is a different sort of feature on Sikkim flora. The next day, I took my driver with us as a guide, and requested him to tell me anything he could about the plants we found on our way. The Sikkim zoo is amazing for plant varieties, so that's where this is from.

The names are mostly Nepali, though some day I would love to go back and do the same thing with a Lepcha guide too.

Brush. About 1.5 meters in height. Red flowers in Feb-March.

Flowering shrub

सिंघानी - goat fodder

लांकूर - Timber. The leaves are dark, and roughly the size of mango leaves.

Cow fodder only.

This one is simply called red flower. Flowering shrub

सातो कावला - Tall, sturdy stem used for timber

पतले कातूस - used for timber

लाल चन्दन - USED FOR TIMBER

Jungle Patti. Used as cow fodder.

चुलात्रो  - only used for cow fodder

सांप का मकई - No particular use, and not a plant the locals are very fond of.

सांप की मकई leaves. The leaves have a gentle magenta outline and veins.

धूपी  - All conifer leaves are burnt in the gompa/ stupa for incense. And the smell is truly heavenly. Since they are used for Dhoop, hence the name Dhoopi.

तुसारे is a flowering shrub. No other use.

लालू पत्ती - flowering shrub

शिष्नु - edible leafy vegetable

1 comment:

Sujatha Sathya said...

You have covered the plants list extensively and quite lovingly too​ must add