Monday, March 3, 2008

Orchids of the North East

Orchids of the North East, this is the topic of Dr Shashidhar Sastry's exciting new book.

Here,we share with you some lovely photographs taken by him.

Noble Dendrobium

Dendrobium nobile

It is one of the most popular and colorful Dendrobiums of the north east. It is found in eastern Himalayas, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim. This beautiful orchid can also be seen in Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand and Myanmar.

Fragrant flowers arise from upper nodes of canes, either with leaves or devoid of leaves.The flowers are about 3 inches in width and are arranged in groups of 2-3. Typically, the flowers have white petals tinged with mauve or rose at the tips and maroon in the central parts.

The plants thrive well in cool and dry conditions.Waterlogging and excessive use of fertilizers must be avoided.

Nun’s Orchid

Phaius tankervilleae

It is a large terrestrial orchid with palm like leaves. The inflorescence is almost three feet tall. The flowers are fragrant and bloom sequentially in attractive colour combinations, often with a pinkish tinge at the tip of each petal.

The plant grows well in places with plenty of shade and adequate moisture.

Paphiopedilum insigne

Areas in North East India, Bangladesh and Nepal that in organic litter or have limestone outcrops are places where you can see this plant thriving.

It is a small to medium sized, orchid. The flowers have a shiny, waxy appearance with undulating petals and a slipper shaped lip that looks very attractive.

This plant flowers in winter, often with a single flower and sometimes even two and thrives on organically enriched soil.This species is widely used to produce hybrids.

Paphiopedilum villosum
(Lindl.) Pfitz

This unusual orchid is found in Assam and Meghalaya in the north-east. Outside India, the plant can be seen growing well in Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

This orchid is best described as a terrestrial ‘paph’ with leaves that are linear, with green and purple spots near the base. The flowers are large, long, terminal and colored an interesting mix of green, yellow, crimson and orange shades.

The plant flowers in winter and thrives in soil that is enriched with humus. It grows well in regions with high rainfall.

Paphiopedilum fairreanum
(Lindl) Stein.

You can see this orchid growing well by the edge of river banks as small clumps in soils rich in humus or in limestone outcrops in the eastern Himalayas and Bhutan.

This orchid is one of the green leaved ‘paphs’ and is named after Fairrie in Liverpool, England.

Solitary flowers, striking in appearance,with dorsal sepals that have lines and netting and a lip that is green and violet with purple veins are the distinguishing features of this orchid.

Farmer's Dendrobium

Dendrobium farmerii

It is a pendulous epiphyte.The pseudobulb is four angled with three to four leaves at the apex. The dense, cylindrical racemose inflorescence, often 15-20 cm long, with a bunch of twenty to thirty flowers arising from the node of canes look striking. Flowers last for a short period and the plants flower best after a long spell of dry weather. This lovely orchid is found in the eastern Himalayas,Assam,Manipur, Khasi and Naga hills.

Shoe-Lip Dendrobium

Dendrobium crepidatum
Lindl & Paxt

It's generally found in Eastern Himalayas and north east India, especially, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. The orchid can also be seen growing well in China, Bangladesh, Myanmar,Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

This is a beautiful epiphyte, at times pendant, with long lasting, mildly fragrant, purple flowers, arranged in bunches of one to four. The orchid grows well at elevations of 500 to 2000 metres.

Text and Photocredits: Dr. K. Shashidhar Sastry

If you would like to know more about orchids of the north-east, you can write to him at the address mentioned below:

Dr.K.S.Shashidhar, IFS,
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden,
Nagaland Forest Department
Forest Colony, Dimapur, Nagaland - 797 112

or email him at

Note: The images published here may not be used either for personal or commercial use without the written consent of Dr K.S.Shashidhar

1 comment:

Preeti Sastry said...

I see the passion you have for orchids its a great representation!
Thanks for sharing the pics-Preeti Sastry