Amid a bagpiper music, ambassador of Nepal to the United Kingdom, Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi, inaugurated the Nepali Garden in the sprawling Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (RBGE).
At a special function organised at the RBGE on Monday, Dr Subedi and Regius Keeper of the garden, Prof. Simon Milne, planted a sapling of Sorbus Vestita, which is found both in Scotland and Nepal.
Dr Subedi also took a digital image of a specimen of Bahunia vahlii (locally known as Bhorla) using a high-resolution camera for virtual herbarium of RBGE, which is available to view online. The specimen was collected in the Morang hills of Nepal in 1810 by Dr Frnacis Buchana-Hamilton.
Earlier, addressing a programme organised at the Science Building of the RBGE, Ambassador Subedi lauded the role played by the RBGE in studying the plant resources of Nepal and making it known to the rest of the world. He said the strong botanical link between Nepal and Scotland goes beyond plants- it represents connections between our societies, our governments and our countries. He also called upon the RBGE to help in the capacity building of Nepalese institutions, academics and students.
Regius Keeper Prof Milne said the RBGE was engaged in the study of plant resources in 35 countries of the world. He said Nepal assumed a strategic place for such studies due to its rich Himalayan biodiversity.
Dr Mark Watson, head of the Major Floras programme at the RBGE, said RBGE is very proud of its long connection with Nepal, dating back to 1802 when Dr Francis Buchanan-Hamilton made the first scientific collections of plants from the Kathmandu Valley. Known as the Father of Nepalese Botany, the more than 1000 species he recorded during his year in Nepal set the foundation for the scientific study of plants in this Himalayan country. “Seeds sown from the Bicentenary Expedition to Nepal last September are growing well in our nursery, and are being used to increase the diversity of plants in our expanding Nepalese area at Inverleith and three regional gardens. This display of Nepalese plants highlights the importance of Nepal to the work of RBGE and raises awareness of Nepal, its globally important biodiversity, cultural heritage, and stunning scenery,” he added.
One of the researchers at the RBGE, Dr Bhaskar Adhikari, said RBGE was proud to have close partnership with the government and academic institutions of Nepal. He said all the plants and seeds collected from Nepal were brought to the UK with the permission of the concerned government authorities only.
RBGE– together with the Department of Plant Resources of the Nepal government, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University and the Society of Himalayan Botany, Japan—has published the first part of the book ‘Flora of Nepal,’ which chronicles around 600 species of Nepalese plants. The joint work aims to publish nine more volumes by covering entire plant species of Nepal.
Established nearly 350 years ago, RBGE is one of the best known botanical gardens in the world. Nearly 900,000 visitors visit the garden every year.
Both pics courtesy: RBGE