Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 201–213 | Cite as

Distribution patterns of medicinal plants along an elevational gradient in central Himalaya, Nepal

  • Maan B. RokayaEmail author
  • Zuzana Münzbergová
  • Mani R. Shrestha
  • Binu Timsina


This study aimed to compare the distribution patterns and trends of plant parts used among different groups of medicinal plants, geographical regions, and between medicinal plants and all vascular plants. We used the published sources for elevation records of 2,331 medicinal plant species to interpolate presence between minimum and maximum elevations and estimated medicinal plant richness for each 100-m elevational band. Monte Carlo simulations were used to test whether differences in elevational distribution between different groups of medicinal plants were significant. Total number of medicinal plants as well as different groups showed unimodal relationship with elevation. The elevational distributions of medicinal plants significantly differ between regions and between medicinal plant groups. When comparing the richness of all medicinal plants to all vascular plants, Monte Carlo simulations indicated that the numbers of medicinal plants are higher than expected at low elevations. The highest richness of medicinal plants at low elevation could be possibly due to favorable environmental factors such as high temperature, rainfall, sunlight or due to higher density of human population and thus higher pressure on use of any plants in lower elevations.


Species richness Rapoport’s elevational rule Mid-domain effect Randomization test Unimodal pattern Himalaya Nepal 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maan B. Rokaya
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zuzana Münzbergová
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mani R. Shrestha
    • 3
  • Binu Timsina
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Botany, Faculty of SciencesCharles UniversityPrahaCzech Republic
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic

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