Slender Helleborine-Orchid
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Slender Helleborine-Orchid
P Native Photo: Thingnam Rajshree
Common name: Slender Helleborine-Orchid
Botanical name: Calanthe obcordata    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Bletia obcordata, Calanthe gracilis, Phaius ramosii

Slender Helleborine-Orchid is a small to medium sized terrestrial orchid with a stout stem carrying several, pleated, elliptic, pointed, gradually narrowing leaves which have a stem-clasping base. The plant blooms in the fall on an erect, slender, up to 35 cm long, raceme-like, several to many flowered inflorescence, in leaf-axils. Flowers are slightly fragrant, spreading horizontally, opening widely; sepals and petals green to yellowish green, lip white with a central orange-yellow patch, all parts turning orange-brown with age; flower-stalk and ovary 1-2 cm, densely finely velvet-hairy. Sepals and petals strongly reflexed; sepals similar, elliptic-lanceshaped or ovate-lanceshaped, 9-11 × 3.5-4 mm. Petals are ovate-elliptic, 8-10 x 3.5-4 mm, lip spreading, oblong, 9-12 x 5-7 mm, 3-lobed above middle; lateral lobes nearly erect and embracing column, with distinct nearly triangular-sickle shaped ears projecting forward, tips pointed to subtapering; mid-lobe somewhat kidney-shaped, 2-3 x 5-7 mm (excluding claw), shortly clawed at base, margin strongly crisped, tip notched; disk with a pair of yellow lamellae extending from near base of lip onto claw of mid-lobe and with many orange-red papillae between lamellae. Column 3-5 mm, base often dilated, winged below middle, hairy. Slender Helleborine-Orchid is found in NE India, Bangladesh; China, Japan and SE Asia, at altitudes of 400-1400 m.

Identification credit: Pankaj Kumar, Hussain Barbhuiya Photographed in Kaziranga Orchid & Biodiversity Park, Assam.

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