White Thunia
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White Thunia
ative Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: White Thunia, Marshall's Thunia • Manipuri: ꯎꯇꯈꯦꯜꯂꯩ Oo-Takhellei
Botanical name: Thunia alba var. alba    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Thunia marshalliana, Phaius marshallianus, Phajus marshallianus

White Thunia is an orchid, growing on the ground, on rocks and in tree forks. It forms clumps of erect, biennial leafy canes/stems terminating in a raceme of white showy Coelogyne-like flowers with yellow and orange-marked lips. Flowers are fragrant. Plants can grow to a height of 0.5-1 m. The leaves on the new growths are grey-green and fall off soon after flowering. Leaves are oblong, lanceolate, glaucous below, plae green, with tapering tips. The older canes/stems are usually bare and silver-grey in colour and stay on the plant for another year. During the first year the cane/stem is in active growth and flowers at the end of the growing season. The second year it loses its leaves and serves as a food reservoir for the new growth. After the new growth is mature it has used up all the energy from the older cane, which then shrivels and dies. White Thunia if found up to an elevation of 2000 m in NE India, Burma, Thailand and South China.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.

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