Climate change and exploitation for fodder, timber and firewood is decreasing the yield of rhododendrons in Nepal. Out of 1,000 species around the globe, 32 are found in Nepal, including Rhododendron cowanianum, Rhododendron lowndesit, Kakani, Champadevi, Godavari, Nagarkot, Shivapuri and Phulchowki. This national flower until a few years ago used to bud in April. This has now shifted to February.
Local residents and villagers are said to have over-exploited the rhododendron yield. The president of the Floriculture Association of Nepal, Lok Nath Gaire, terms it as an unprotected flower because it is not recognized as an ornamental flower for decoration within Nepal. The flower’s early blooming also creates a mayhem of pests and caterpillars. While it is scientifically cultivated and exported to the international market as an ornamental flower, the yield of rhododendrons can be beneficial domestically as well.