Snow Orchid
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Snow Orchid
P Native Photo: Smita Raskar
Common name: Snow Orchid, Hairy Diplomeris
Botanical name: Diplomeris hirsuta    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Diplochilos hirsutus

Snow Orchid is a mini-miniature sized, terrestrial orchid with a spherical-ellipsoid tuber giving rise to a short stem enveloped by sparsely velvet-hairy leaf bearing sheaths. Flowers are borne solitary, erect, white, large; ovary and flower-stalk 1.1-1.5 cm, velvet-hairy. Sepals are spreading, ovate-oblong, 1.1-1.6 x 0.8-1.2 cm, outer surface sparsely velvet-hairy, tip pointed. Petals are spreading, round-kidney-shaped, 1.0-2.1 x 0.7-1.7 cm, tip somewhat pointed; lip spreading, broadly obovate, 1.6-2.2 x 1.5-2.3 mm, tip entire to shallowly notched and with a small pointed tooth. Spur is drooping, strongly incurved, cylindric, 3.5-4.5 cm, slender, narrowed, tip pointed.The plant carries 1 (occasionally with a second, opposite, small leaf), basal, oblong, leaf which is somewhat pointed, weakly heart-shaped, stalkless, stiffly velvet-hairy. The plant blooms in the spring and summer on an erect, 6.25 cm long stem. Snow Orchid is found in the Himalayas to China South-Central. Flowering: July-August.

Identification credit: Smita Raskar Photographed in Darjeeling distt., West Bengal.

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