The latest publication of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) reveals that Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas are home to more than one-third of all types of rhododendrons found in India.
Key facts about Rhododendrons:
- What is it?They are a diverse genus of about 1,000 species of woody flowering plants in the heath family (Ericaceae), notable for their attractive flowers and handsome foliage.
- Distribution:They are native to the temperate regions of Asia, North America, and Europe, as well as to the tropical regions of southeast Asia and northern Australia.
- Habitat:They occur in a variety of habitats, including alpine regions, coniferous and broadleaved woodlands, temperate rain forests, and even tropical jungle conditions.
- They also require a slightly acid soil to grow well.
- They exhibit an enormous diversity of size and shape, from prostrate ground covers growing no more than a few inches high to trees more than 100 feet tall.
- There are 132 taxa (80 species, 25 subspecies and 27 varieties) of rhododendrons found in India.
- Rhododendron, also known as "LaliGuras" in local language, is the national flower of Nepal and the state tree of the state of Uttarakhand in India.
Q1) What is the Ericaceae family of plants?
The heath family (Ericaceae) is a large group of flowering plants, with more than 4,000 species in 126 genera distributed nearly worldwide. The plants range from small alpine herbs to large tropical trees. Many can tolerate poor acidic soils. The flowers are often urn-shaped with fused petals, though some species have unfused bilaterally symmetrical flowers.