Secund flower arrangement.

When all flowers bore on sides of the axil are turned to one direction, the arrangement is termed secund flower arrangement. Probably due to its rarity in the family of orchids, a few orchid species are even named after this flower arrangement with specific names or epithets like secunda, secundum, secundus, secundiflora, secundiflorus, etc.

Many observations during my field trips have opened a new dimension in the study of pollinator behaviours with respect to secund orchid flowers.

Ponerorchis sp.
Ponerorchis sp.
Ponerorchis sp.
Ponerorchis sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Pholidota sp.
Pholidota sp.
Pholidota sp.
Pholidota sp.
Pinalia sp.
Pinalia sp.
Pinalia sp.
Pinalia sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Cryptochilus sp.

Post 13 – 22/September/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Umbel flower arrangement.

When each of the many (more than 2) flower pedicels arises from around the same point at the tip of its peduncle, it is termed umbel arrangement. This arrangement is often compared to that of the struts (ribs/frame) of an umbrella.

Many of the species in genera Bulbophyllum are examples of this unique characteristic. Flowers in umbels are referred to as umbellate, or occasionally subumbellate (when flowers are almost umbellate). 

Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.

Post 12 – 19/September/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Floral bract.

A modified leaf considered a part of the flower is termed floral bract. The purpose of it is to support or enfold the flower, however in the case of orchid flowers it rarely enfold the flower.

Floral bracts arise from the rachis at the point of contact of the pedicel. It can be a minute triangular-like growth to a leaf-like even longer than the pedicel or the pedicellate ovary. In some species it is larger than the flower and forms a concave shape. The many characteristics of floral bracts like its length, deflexed, hairy, colours, encircling the ovary, deciduous at flowering etc., help in identifying the species. 

Hairy as well as longer than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
Hairy as well as longer than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
Leaf-like, large concave shaped bract.
Leaf-like, large concave shaped bract.
Deflexed as well as coloured bracts.
Deflexed as well as coloured bracts.
Encircling the ovary bracts.
Encircling the ovary bracts.
Triangular-like minute bracts.
Triangular-like minute bracts.
Hairy and coloured bracts.
Hairy and coloured bracts.
Shorter than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
Shorter than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
Longer than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
Longer than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
Hairy and concave shaped bracts.
Hairy and concave shaped bracts.
As long as or longer than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
As long as or longer than the pedicellate ovary bracts.
Deflexed bracts.
Deflexed bracts.

Post 10 – 16/September/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Fruit of orchid plants.

Orchid fruits are in the form of a capsule or a pod, carrying thousands and thousands of dust-like seeds. Fruits are of different shapes and sizes, from a minute globose or berry like capsule to a long cylindrical pod. Fruits attain erect, sub-erect or pendulous arrangement. In some genera the pedicel elongates considerably while the fruit matures. On maturing, fruits burst open laterally by 3 or 6 slits and the minuscule sized seeds get dispersed with the help of air flow.

Many orchid fruits have interesting characteristics to observe and study. Some attain shapes that of sausages or are three-angled; in a few cases the outer surface of the capsule or pod is pubescent (with soft hairs); they are either 3 or 6 ribbed; some are with a unique beak at its apex; in a few genera the fruits mature rapidly while in others it take months; its colour varying from green to brown or brick red, even with unique purple spots and patterns.

Cyrtosia sp.
Cyrtosia sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.
Oberonia sp.
Oberonia sp.
Calanthe sp.
Calanthe sp.
Arundina sp.
Arundina sp.
Gastrodia sp.
Gastrodia sp.
Zeuxine sp.
Zeuxine sp.
Cyrtosia sp.
Cyrtosia sp.
Coelogyne sp.
Coelogyne sp.
Dendrobium sp.
Dendrobium sp.

Post 10 – 13/September/2020

 

 

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Fibrous sheath.

Pseudobulbs of a few orchid species in genera Pleione and Porpax got a unique sheath covering. As the bulb matures, the sheath partially disintegrates to form a fine fibrous radiating set of veins either forming a net-like pattern or longitudinally converging. This characteristic helps in identifying the species while they are not in bloom or leaf-less.

Pleione sp.
Pleione sp.
Porpax sp.
Porpax sp.

Post 09 – 10/September/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Laterally compressed leaves.

Leaves with its surface compressed against each other at the mid-vein to form a flattened structure with equilateral edges are termed laterally compressed leaves. 

Orchid genera like Dendrobium (a few species), Oberonia and Podochilus got laterally compressed leaves.

Oberonia sp.
Oberonia sp.
Dendrobium sp.
Dendrobium sp.
Podochilus sp.
Podochilus sp.
Oberonia sp.
Oberonia sp.

Post 08 – 07/September/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – 2-spurred orchid flowers.

Spur is not an uncommon characteristic in orchid flowers. It is defined as the hollow slender extension from the base of the lip. The purpose of the spur is to hold nectar and it varies in shape and size, solitary across all genera. However, very rarely a few orchid genera flowers possess 2-spurs.

Presented here is a Satyrium sp. and its Alba form.

Satyrium sp.
Satyrium sp.
Satyrium sp.
Satyrium sp.

Post 07 – 04/September/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Awn.

A bristle-like extension, at the apex (tip) of leaves, floral bracts, sepals and petals is termed an awn. This characteristic is very prominent in the Poaceae (Grass) family, however, many orchid plants also have this unique feature. 

Presented below is a Bulbophyllum sp.

Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.

Post 06 – 01/September/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Tubular or connate orchid flowers.

The general perception about orchid flowers is that of large flowers with spread open bilaterally symmetric sepals and petals. However, there are many orchid flowers that are tubular in characteristic. With either sepals or sepals and petals fused to form a tube like structure with only its apical ends free. 

Botanically the process of fusion of like/similar parts is termed connation, and those fused parts are described as connate.

Gastrodia sp.
Gastrodia sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Cryptochilus sp.
Gastrodia sp.
Gastrodia sp.
Porpax sp.
Porpax sp.

Post 05 – 28/Aug/2020

Orchid Lessons By Naresh Swami – Translucent pseudobulb.

While I was in the 6th class, our Biology teacher demonstrated an experiment to help us understand the way in which water is transported in a plant, with the help of Balsam plants and coloured water. A Balsam plant is placed in a beaker filled with coloured water. After some time we saw the coloured water slowly rising up the stem. She further explained that the Balsam plants are particularly used because they have translucent stems, so that we can see the coloured water moving up the stem. Hence, whenever I think about the word “translucent”, I remember those Balsam plants.

However, it is not just the Balsam plants that have translucent characteristics, a few orchids also have this unique characteristic, even though the phenomenon is very rare. 

Presented here is Pholidota protracta Hook.f., with its translucent pseudobulb.

Post 04 – 25/Aug/2020

Pholidota protracta Hook.f.
Pholidota protracta Hook.f.
Pholidota protracta Hook.f.
Pholidota protracta Hook.f.