Published: 2021
Product Code:



Nepal’s CITES-reported orchid exports

Nepal is one of the major exporters of wild plants, including ornamental and medicinal orchids to other Southeast Asian countries, China, North America, and Europe. The trade includes species common in Ayurvedic and Chinese pharmacopeia, used either individually or mixed with other plants for a wide range of purposes. This report provides important insights into the historical and current status of legal orchid trade in Nepal. We reviewed the legal, international export of orchids from Nepal starting in1977, the year Nepal began CITES reporting until 2018 (although there was no trade data reported during 2016-2018), with a particular focus on recent trends (2008-2016), based on the CITES trade database (, downloaded in January 2021). Over this period, a total of 38 species from 15 genera (and several unidentified ones) were exported from Nepal; however, only 4 genera (Dendrobium, Coelogyne, Cymbidium, Otochilus) were reported by Nepal. Wild-harvested orchids overwhelmingly dominated the legal trade (96%, 47,889 kg), while a few of them were artificially propagated. Likewise, the export was dominated by a single genus, Dendrobium although 12 species from 4 genera (Dendrobium, Coelogyne, Cymbidium, and Otochilus) were reported in trade by Nepal and its importing countries. Thailand is its major importer; almost all were Dendrobium stems exported for the purpose of trade and collected from the wild. It is important to note that there is a huge discrepancy in data reported by Nepal and its importers.

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