Botany originated in prehistory as herbalism with the efforts of early humans to identify and later cultivate edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest branches of science. Research topics of botany include the study of plant structure, growth and differentiation, reproduction, biochemistry and primary metabolism, chemical products, medicinal value, development, diseases, evolutionary relationships, systematics, and plant taxonomy.
Nepal, a landlocked country located in the central part of main Himalayan range is floristically characterized by presence of six adjoining floristic regions, namely central Asiatic in the North, Sino-Japanese in the North East, South East Asia-Malaysian in the South East, Indian in the South Sudano-Zambian in the South-West and Irano-Turranean in the West. The altitudinal variation ranges from about 60m to the top of the world (8,848m) has made Nepal a rich country in plant bio-diversity. It has 35 forest types, 75 vegetation units and 118 ecosystems. Nepal’s botanical wealth is conserved through various acts and laws and particularly protected in 10 National Parks, 3 Wild-life Reserves, 1 Hunting Reserve, 6 Conservation Areas and 12 Buffer Zones as in-situ conservation. Plants are also conserved, as a part of ex-situ conservation, in national level Botanical Garden (National Botanical Grade, Godavari, and Lalitpur) and 10 district level Botanical gardens at various parts of the country.
One of the major functions of RECO-Nepal is research on economic, medicinal flowering and nonflowering plants as well as ethno botanical studies of various plants that are found in Nepal in order to increase and improve the supply of medicines, foods, fibers, building materials, and other plant products. The plant carries various medicinal values which is mostly practiced in rural areas where the poor people can’t afford medicines. Reported medicinal plants are systematically screened through phytochemical and pharmacological for potential bioactive compounds. Experimental validation of these remedies may help in developing new drugs which can be used to cure inevitable disease. This is a great contribution for pharmaceutical and herbal industries in Nepal. Conservationists use botanical knowledge to help manage parks, forests, range lands, and wilderness areas. Public health and environmental protection professionals depend on their understanding of plant science to help solve pollution problems.
A herbarium is a collection of preserved plants stored, catalogued, and arranged systematically for study by professionals and amateurs from many walks of life. A collection like this is a vital reference when we need to identify a plant and also serves in the identification of thousands of plant names. A herbarium is a cross between a museum of priceless artifacts and a warehouse of birth certificates for plants and acts as a source of information about plants where they are found, what chemicals they have in them, when they flower, what they look like. Preserved plant specimens can be used to provide samples of DNA and to validate scientific observations. A herbarium is therefore of immense practical use and of fundamental importance to science. At present we have about thousand plant specimens housed in our herbarium. RECO-Nepal also provides the identification services to the concerned people as well as research organization.