Scientists to trace lost flora
Dried specimens of plants collected by Scottish botanists in the 19th century from Nepal will be used to find lost plant species of the Himalayan kingdom.
A team of Nepalese botanists have travelled to Scotland to study the specimens preserved in a special herbarium at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, reports Scottish daily Scotsman.
Several of Nepal's 7,000 plant species that are believed to have been destroyed by over-development and tourism could now be revived using the herbarium, say scientists.
Said Mark Watson, head of the 'Flora of Nepal' project at the Royal Botanic Garden: "We have detailed information about the plants. When they (the Nepalese scientists) go back, they can look if the plants still exist."
Nepal does not have a flora library. However, a few species of plants may still exist and could be used to cultivate more plants.
Watson said the project could uncover a further 500 unknown species in Nepal.
The botanists will learn more about identifying and locating Nepal's rare plants by studying the herbarium here.
Nepalese botanist Keshab Rajbhandari, who is part of the research team visiting Scotland, said: "Nowhere else in the world can we see and learn about our flora. We are very grateful that Scottish scientists took some of our plants as specimens. Otherwise we would not be able to learn about our plants."
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