Glossary of Common Fruits of Nepal

Common Fruits of Nepal

In Nepal, fruits are called  Phal-phulharu (फलफूलहरु). Nepal produces a variety of fruits, probably more than many other subtropical countries. Nepal is situated on the southern slopes of the central Himalayas and occupies a total area of 56,827 sq mi.  Nepal’s great biodiversity is associated with the country’s exceptional diversity of topography, climate, and agro-ecological conditions.  According to these conditions, Nepal is divided into four main physiographic zones, High Himalayas, High Mountains with alpine or subalpine climate, Mid-Hills with temperate or subtropical climate, and Lowlands with tropical climate.

These four distinct zones make Nepal very rich in cultivated and wild varieties of fruits. According to research done by Madhusudan P. Upadhaya and Bal K. Joshi, there are more than 100 varieties of 15 major fruits.  The authors write, “Pharping cultivators (Kathmandu District) of pear, Junar (variety of sweet orange) which are indigenous to Kathmandu valley and Dhankuta in the Eastern part of Nepal and Sindhuli District — respectively are also commercial production.  Many cultivators of lime and lemon are indigenous to Mid-Hills of Nepal and popular even in neighboring countries.  These cultivators perform better than exotic clones due to many desirable economical characters. In the case of Citrus fruits, sour orange “Kalo Jyamir”, citron “Bimiro” etc. are the indigenous fruit plants cultivated in Sub-Tropical climate areas”.

Citrus fruits are usually found in abundance in winter months. The best varieties come from Dhankuta (धनकुटा), Terhathum District (तेह्रथुम ), Sankhuwasabha District (सङ्खुवासभा),  Ilam (इलाम), Sindhuli District (सिन्धुली), Ramechhap District (रामेछाप), Dhading District (धादिङ), Kavrepalanchok District (काभ्रेपलाञ्चोक), Lamjung District (लमजुङ), Syangja District (स्याङ्जा), Palpa District (पाल्पा), Gulmi District (गुल्मी) and Dadeldhura District (डडेलधुरा) area. Some of the unique varieties are produced in large quantities.  The most common are: Suntalaa (Mandarin), Hariyo Kaagati (Lime), Kaagati (Lemon), Nibuwaa (Lemon), Bhogate (Pomillo), Mausham (Sweet Orange), Junaar (Junar Orange), Bimiro (Citron), Kaalo Jayamir (Rough Lemon), Kathe Jyaamir (Rough Lemon), Keep (Spur Orange), Chaaksi (Sweet Lime), Shanktro (Grapefruit), and Muntalaa (Kumquat).  Please check the botanical names under the glossary of fruits.

In the Terai regions, tropical fruits like –  Aamp (Mango), Katahar (Jackfruit), lichi (Lychee), Keeraa (Banana), Sarifaa (Custard Apples)  and many other varieties grow in great numbers.  The best varieties come from Bara District (बारा), Parsa District (पर्सा), Sarlahi (सर्लाही), Chitwan District (चितवन), Kapilvastu District (कपिलवस्तु), Nawalparasi District (नवलपरासी), Dang Deukhuri  (दाङ्ग देउखरी),  Kavrepalanchok District (काभ्रेपलाञ्चोक), Dhading District (धादिङ), and Nuwakot District (नुवाकोट).  Nepal has a complex topography with hills and flat lands.  Many fruits that are grown in the remote areas are hard to transport due to the lack of basic transportation.  These areas often lack adequate storage facilities.  It is imperative that Nepal develop the fruit industry to help the economy.

It is common knowledge that in every season there is a special kind of fruit.  All the seasonal fruits in Nepal are tree-ripened and have a delicious taste, texture, flavor and color.  Some of the fruits that are grown in Nepal are definitely “must try”.   The most popular ones are the exotic loose-skin tangerine, delicious mangoes, guavas bursting with flavor, custard fruit, the mild flavored papaya and the brown-skinned-juicy-crunchy pear.

In Nepali culture, fruits play an important role in many festive occasions and religious rituals.  They are considered one of the most auspicious foods  offered to deities as a part of devotional worship offerings. The religious rituals are never complete without offering some fruits (coconut, banana, bel fruit, sugarcane) along with flowers, incense, Naivedya sweets (food made especially for deities), holy water and light.  Different fruits are used for specific religious occasions.  Fruits like bananas are considered good luck and are given to people who are about to travel. 

Most of the pictures in my blog were captured in the colorful open-air market around Indra Chowk square and the historic district of Asan Bazaar in Kathmandu.  In the early hours of morning time, the farmers and fruit vendors set up produce stalls and are ready for service.  The locals have a great selection of seasonal or year around fruits to choose during the peak season.   You may see a local farmer balancing a bamboo pole across his shoulders, holding two wicker woven baskets full of freshly picked fruits and vegetables, heading to the market.  In Nepali vegetable markets, one can experience the proud skills of vendors arranging every tiny space with a dramatic display of vegetables and fruits. On many street corners, vendors set up their wicker baskets stands,  with freshly picked fresh fruits and vegetables.  The most popular ones are green Gooseberry, Lichi fruit, Labsi (Hog plum), Guava, and Tangerines.

The vegetables are sold in the markets weighted in a hand-held local scale, known as Taraaju, which comes in a variety of sizes and forms.  Measurements are done in kilograms.  Most Nepali households do not store fresh vegetables and fruits, so they are bought fresh every day.

I am so glad to be able to compile the glossary of the most common fruits of Nepal and present it to you in my blog. I trust the glossary is useful to you, but I am still looking for some pictures of fruits that I wanted to add to the lists.  I have included the images of the fruits along with Nepali, Scientific and Common names of the most fruits of Nepal.  Most of the information was collected from several journals, research papers and a book on the introduction to Nepalese Food Plants.  Please go through the images and check the scientific names and if you find it incorrect in some cases, please let me know what I missed. Since I am not a botanist, there may be some inaccuracy.  I would deeply appreciate your feedback – so that I can revise and make corrections.


I will be dividing the “visual guide to the fruits of Nepal” into three different sections.  Please check each one out.  I hope you will have much fun as I have had putting together the virtual tour of Nepali fruits.  Please drop me a few lines in the comments section of the blog.  Your comments and feedback are important and I would love to hear from you. 

Apple –  Shaayau – (स्याउ) – Malus sylvestris

Apricot – Khurasani – (खुर ् पानी) – Prunus armeniaca L.

Avocado – Gheuphal – (घीउफल) – Persea americana

Banana – Kerala – (केरा) – Musa paradisiaca

Barberry, Nepal – Chutro – (चुत्रो) – Berberis aristata Dc.

Bayar (Chinese Date, Indian Plum) – (बयर) – Zizyphus mauritiana Lamk

Bay-Berry – Kaaphal – (काफल) – Myrica esculenta

Bead Plum – Haade Bayer – (हाडेवयर) – Ziziphus incurva Roxb

Blueberry – Neelo Aaiselu – नीलो ऐसेलु

Cherry – Paiyun – (पैयुँ) – Prunus cerasoides D. Don

Coconut – Nariwal – (नरिवल) – Cocos nucifera L.

Custard Apple or Sugar Apple – Sariphaa – (सरीफा) – Annona squamosa L.

Date – Khajoor – (खजूर) – Phoenix sylvestris Roxb.

Fig – Anjir, Nevaro – (अन्जिर, नेभारो) – Ficus carica L.

Goji berry – Goji Beri – (गोजी बेरी) – Lycium barbarum

Gooseberry, Indian – Amalaa – (अमला) – Emblica officinalis

Grape – Angoor -Daakh – (अंगुर, दाख) – Vitis vinifera L.

Grapefruit – Sankhatro – (संखत्रो) – Citrus paradisi Macf.

Guava – Ambaa or Ammaa – (अम्बा) – Psidium guajava L.

Jack Fruit – Rukh Kathar – (रुख कटहर) – Artocarpus heterophylla Lamk

Java Plum, Black Plum – Jaamun – (जामुन) – Eugenia jambolana Lamk.

Kumquat – Muntalaa – (मुन्तला) – Fortunella joponica Swingle

Lapsi – Nepalese Hog Plum – (लप्सी)

Lemon (very sour) – Jyaamir – (ज्यामिर)

Lemon, Rough – Kaathe Jyamir – (काठे ज्यामीर) – Citrus jambhiri

Lemon, Citron – Bimiro – (बिमिरो) – Citrus medica L.

Lemon, (chook-amilo lemon) – Kaalo Jyamir – (कालो ज्यामीर) –  Citrus junos Tanaka

Lemon (yellow) – Nibuaa – (नीबुआ) – Citrus limon Burm

Lime (green) Kaagati – (कागती) – Citrus aurantifolia Swingle

Lime sweet – Chaaksi – (चाक्सी) – Citrus limettioides Tanaka

Lychee, Lichee – Lichi – (लिची) – Nephelium litchi camp.

Loquat – Loquat – (लौकाट) – Eribotrya eliptica

Mango – Aanp – (आँप) – Mangifera indica L.

Mulberry (black, red, local) – Kimbu – (किम्बु) – Morus alba L., Morus rubra L., Morus bombycis Koidzumi)

Oleaster – Maadilo – (मदिलो) – (Elaeagnus latifolia L.)

Orange – (Mandarin, Tangerine, Satsuma orange, Loose skin Orange) – Suntalaa – (सुन्तला) – Citrus reticulata Blanco

Orange (sweet or Malta orange) –  Maushambi – (मौशम्बी) – Citrus sinensis Osbeck

Orange – Junaar – जुनार – Citrus sinensis

Orange Keep, (Spur Orange, Bitter Orange) – Keep – (कीप) – Citrus aurantium L.

Papaya – Papitaa or Mewaa – (पपिता अथवा मेवा) – Carica papaya L.

Peach – Aaru – (आरु) – Prunus persica Stokes.

Pear – Nashpaati – (नास्पाती) – Pyrus communis L.

Pear Chinese  – Chinia Naspaati – (चिनिया नासपाती) – Pyrus: pyrifolia Nakai.

Persimmon – Haluaabed –  (हलुवाबेद) – Japanese persimmon – Diospyros kaki

Persimmon – Haluaabed –  (हलुवाबेद) – Diospyros virginiana L.Physalis

Plum – Alubukharaa – (आलुबखडा) – Prunus domestica

Pineapple – Bhuin Katahar – (भुइँ कटहर) – Ananas Comosus

Pomegranate – Anaar, Daarim – (अनार – दारिम) – Punica granatum L.

Pomilo or Pummelo – Bhogate – (भोगटे) – Citrus grandis Osbeck

Quince – Nepali Shaayau – (नेपाली स्याउ) – Cydonia oblonga Mill.

Raspberry Himalayan – Ainselu – (ऐंसेलु) – (yellow, red, black) – Rubus ellipticus Smith

Sati Bayar – (Nepal sumac) – Satibayar – (सति वयर) – Rhus parviflora Roxb.

Starfruit – Kantaraa – (कन्तरा) – Carambola

Strawberry – Straberi – (स्ट्रबेरी) – Fragaria ananassa

Wood Apple, Bengal quince – Bel – (बेल) – Aegle marmelos Corrg

Walnut (thick shell Black) – Haade Okhar – (हाडेओखर) – Juglans regia L.

Water Melon – Kharbooza or Kharbujaa – (खर्बुजा) – Cucumis melo L.

Wild Pear – Mayal – (मयल) – Pyrus pashia Buch-Ham

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