Cypripedium himalaicum Rolfe: an Endangered Orchid
The Himalayan region is bestowed with a variety of natural resources which have been exploited by mankind since time immemorial. One of the most important sectors of natural resources in the region is ‘Orchids’. Orchids belonging to the family Orchidaceae are diverse and widespread family of flowering plants with attractive flowers of different sizes and colours. Cypripedium himalaicum Rolfe an important terrestrial orchid of high altitude Himalayan region is commonly known Himalayan Cypripedium, and is distributed at an altitude of 3000-4300m. The plant has as an ornamental value and is exploited for trade due to its medicinal properties. The plant is used Chinese Medicinal System to treat female infertility, hernia, and pain at the waist in woman (Wu, 1994). In Nepal it is used to treat dificulty in passing urine, urinary stones, heart and lung diseases (Baral and Kurmi, 2006; Pant and Raskoti, 2013).
Overexploitation and anthropogenic pressure on Cypripedium himalaicum has listed it as rare in Red Data Book of Indian Plants (www.iucnredlist.org/details/43316627/0) and therefore require conservation measures.
Being in the endangered category, the effective conservation measures by including both ex-situ and in- situ methods will ultimately reduce the pressure on natural pockets of this valuable orchid. Biochemical characterization of different population would be helpful for effective conservation management. Further cultivating and mass multiplication of promising population within the distribution range could be ideal approach for conserving the species.
Baral SR, Kurmi PP. 2006. A Compendium of Medicinal Plants of Nepal. Publisher Rachana Baral, Printed in Nepal by Mass Printing Press, Kathmandu.
Pant B, Raskoti BB. 2013. Medicinal Orchid of Nepal. Himalayan Map House Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu.
Wu XR. 1994. A concise edition of medicinal plants in China. Guangdong Higher Education Publication House, Guangdong (in Chinese).