DOI: 10.54207/bsmps2000-2023-0lvso0 ISSN: 0971-9415

Applications of pteridophytes in Himachal Pradesh, Western Himalaya: An ethnobotanical perspective

Ankita Thakur, Khilendra Kanwal
Ferns exhibit wide distribution in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), with Himachal Pradesh providing optimal climatic conditions for diverse fern species. This study documents the ethnobotanical applications of 45 pteridophyte species, spanning 16 families and 21 genera in Himachal Pradesh. Pteridophytes hold economic importance due to their edibility, ornamental appeal, and medicinal properties. Local communities extensively employ Pteridophytes with medicinal attributes to address various health concerns, including boils, wounds, colds, coughs, gastrointestinal diseases, gonorrhea, typhoid, urinary problems, uterine disorders, and hair loss. Moreover, Pteridophytes exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties, where plant paste is directly applied to the skin for swelling reduction. The monsoon season sees substantial growth of ferns in moisture-rich soil. Apart from their utilitarian purposes, ferns contribute to aesthetic values and serve as outdoor and ornamental plants. Noteworthy ornamental ferns, such as Adiantum capillus-veneris, Pteris cretica, Pteris multifida, Polypodium polypodioides, and Lepisorus thunbergianus, are acknowledged for their potential to enhance air quality. Diplazium esculentum, an edible fern, stands out as a popular and nutritious cuisine in Himachal Pradesh. The article concludes with recommendations for the conservation and sustainable utilization of ethnobotanically significant Pteridophytes in Himachal Pradesh.

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