Rhododendron

Darjeeling has a rich and unique vegetation, comprising of Cryptogwns (Non-flowering plants) and Phancrogains(Flowering plants). Rhododendron falls in Angiosperns of Phanerogams. Rhododendrons generally occur in Rhododendron Conifer Forests. In the surrounding areas of Darjeeling Town a few species of Rhododendron grow but are scattered. Approximately there are twenty four species of this genus found in the hills of Darjeeling and its adjoining areas. Rhododendron is derived from the Greek word-Rhoden means rose and dendron means tree. The most common species of this genus is Rhododendron arborcum locally known as Lali Gurans.


Some of the local names of species of this genus found in this region are

1. R.anthopogan: It is a small aromatic shrub. Dried leaves of this plant is mixed with leaves with another conifer called Cupressusspp and its local name is as “Shukpa Dhup”.

2. R. arboreum: It is locally known as Lali-Gurans. The red petals of this species are dried and chewed with sugar to cure blood dysentery and is also used to manufacture wine, though it is not viable commercially.

3. R.barbatum: Commonly known as Lal Chimal.

4. R.capynulatum: This species occurs in Sandakphu, Phalut and Ramam, its mauve colour locally known as Nilo Chimal.

5. R.cinnabarinum: This locally known as Sanu-Chimal has poisonous leaves. Its bark is red-brown and smooth.

6. R.dalhousiae: The flower is large, white, tinge with rose on the outside. This is locally known as Lahare-Chimal.

7. R.falconeri: Korlinga by local name is very common in and around Tonglu.

8. R.fulgens: It is similar to Nilo-Chimal but the colour of the flower is scarlet.

9. R.grande: It is locally known as Patie Korlinga.

10. R.griffithianum: This Seto-Chimal is found mixed with R.grande. It is common in Batase,Palmjua.

11. R.hodgsoni: Korlinga by local name too grows underneath of Conifer Forest.

12. R.lepidotum: Its common name is Bhale Sunpati.

13. R.lindleyi: This plant is identical to R.dalhousiae, but differs in it's elliptic rounded leaves.

14. R.triflorum: It is commonly known as Yellow Chimal.

15. R.vaccimioides: It is a small shrub with pink flower and is found above 1500m.


There are few more species are found in the hills of Darjeeling including Sikkim, but the flowing plant with variegated flowers are fast disappearing from this region because of being ruthlessly felled down with dual purpose of obtaining fuel and construction of houses.

 
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