About 300 of the world's species are found in die rich forestland, gardens and nurseries of Meghalaya. Amongst its rare species are the insect-eating Pitcher Plant, Wild Citrus and Pygmy Lily. The highest numbers of orchid species are located in Mawsmai and Mawmluh. En route to Cherrapunjee, the forest at Sohrarim is a botanist's paradise.
Blessed with different climatic conditions, Meghalaya boasts a variety of plants, from the Rhododendron forested Shillong Peak to the insectivorous pitcher plants found both in the Jaintia Hills and the Garo Hills. Different varieties of ferns including the tree fern lend beauty and grace to their surroundings.Meghalaya is home to about 300 known varieties of the 17,000 species of orchids found in the world. Also found in Meghalaya, in abundance are a number of medicinal plants that are used in traditional medicine. Fruits such as plums, peaches, pears, oranges, pineapples, bananas, cashew nuts as well as spices like ginger, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and bay leaf are also grown extensively in Meghalaya.
Balpakram National Park
Balpakram has been declared a National Park some years ago. This place is about 220 sq kms in area and is 167 kms from Tura. This place is not only of mythological importance but also the natural habitant of many rare and exotic animals and plant life. It is also believed to be the original home of the rare citrus plant Me-mang Narang. Balpakram is exquisitely beautiful when ground orchids are in bloom. The best time to see is from April to mid June. There is the guest house at Hattisil at the entrance to Balpakram run by the Forest Department.
Nokrek hill is the home of a very rare species of citrus locally known as Memang Narang orange of the spirits. This Memang Narang is considered to be the most primitive and progenitor of all other varieties of citrus plants in the world with a view to preserve this rare species of citrus indica the first gene sanctuary of the world has been established here.
Mawphlang Sacred Grove
Mawphlang, just 26 km from Shillong a traditionally preserved forest grove known as Law Kyntang is another tourist attraction. Trees and plants in this Sacred Forest are grown with no human interference.
The sacred-groves which have been preserved since time immemorial, are in sharp contrast to their surrounding grasslands. These groves are generally rimmed by a dense growth of Castanopsis kurzii trees, forming a protective hedge which halts intrusion of Pinus kasia (Khasi pine) which dominates all areas outside the sacred groves. Inside the outer rim, the sacred groves are virtually Nature's Own Museum. The heavily covered grounds have a thick cushion of humus accumulated over the centuries. The trees in every sacred groveare heavily loaded with epiphytic growth of aroids, pipers, ferns, fern-allies and orchids. The humus-covered grounds likewise harbour myriad varieties of plant life, many of which are found nowhere else.