Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Dorsally compressed flowers.

Almost all the orchid flowers are zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetrical), with spreading sepals and petals, irrespective of their size – small or large.

However, genus like Bulbophyllum has few species with dorsally compressed flowers, with its sepals and petals adpressed over each other forming more or less a flattened flower.

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

Post 32 – 24/November/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Alba form.

Rarely in a few orchid species, due to their individual genetic disorders, plants produce white flowers, the Alba form, instead of their original colour. These are mainly due to the absence of pigments which define the flower colouration.

Generally, white colour dominates the whole flower parts, but there are instances that the white colour dominates only a certain area of the flower.

Satyrium sp.
Ponerorchis sp.

Post 31 – 21/November/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Capitulum flower arrangement.

When the inflorescence is with a distinct compact rounded or globose head with a cluster of flowers, the flower arrangement is termed capitulum flower arrangement. 

The head may be with few to several flowers, but all terminally or to some extent sub-terminally arranged.

Bulbophyllum sp.
Bulbophyllum sp.

Agrostophyllum sp.
Agrostophyllum sp.

Post 30 – 18/November/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Aerial (air) roots in orchids.

Epiphytic orchids attach themselves to the host tree with their basal roots. Those roots provide the plant with support as well as absorb nutrients. 

However, there are a set of aerial (air) roots in certain orchid species. Aerial roots arise along the length of the stem. These extraordinary roots also help the plant absorb moisture and nutrients from the atmosphere, thus helping the plant with extra resources for its healthy growth.

Podochilus sp.
Podochilus sp.

Podochilus sp.
Podochilus sp.

Post 29 – 15/November/2020

Winter Narratives by Naresh Swami – The silent migration!

With the onslaught of winter, the topography of the high slopes in the Himalayan range changes dramatically – from green to white. With hundreds of vehicles loaded with tourists negotiating the winding roads uphill to see and play with snow, there happens a silent migration of men and beasts downhill.

With high slopes under many feet of snow, the scope of finding food for cattle remains impossible. Not just about food and water, the temperature goes so low, that remaining in the high slopes means disaster. Hence, they move downhill where fresh fodder and favourable climatic conditions are available.

Nomads in the Himalaya face threat from habitat destruction as well as a decreasing numbers in their own population. With many challenges including financial prospects against their livelihood, many members in the nomadic community who were traditionally cattle grazers moved to towns and cities looking for other income generating jobs. 

The disappearance of the nomads in the Himalaya is only a matter of time.

From the western Himalaya.
From the western Himalaya.

From the western Himalaya.
From the western Himalaya.

Post 1 – 12/Nov/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Varying colour formation in orchid flowers.

Each plant species tends to grow in a particular altitudinal range. Many of them won’t survive the varying climatic conditions of altitudinal differences. However, certain orchid species have evolved to a great extent to widen their populations to multitude of altitudinal ranges – from the tropical to the subalpine/alpine zone.

For example, the Crepidium sp. presented here, has a varying altitudinal range from almost 300 ft to 9800 ft MSL. But the main objective they face is to find the right pollinator, as the life cycle of many insects (the main pollinators of orchids) depend upon many factors including the altitudinal range of their existence. Not all insects can survive in varying altitudinal ranges. 

To overcome this challenge, the evolutionary mechanism in orchids developed techniques to change the colouration of its flowers along the altitudinal range to attract pollinators of their habitats with ease.

Crepidium sp.
Crepidium sp.

Crepidium sp.
Crepidium sp.

Crepidium sp.
Crepidium sp.

Crepidium sp.
Crepidium sp.

Post 28 – 11/November/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Uneven chlorophyll distribution.

Many orchid species are with very interesting patterns of darker spots and smears on their leaves. These are due to the uneven distribution of chlorophyll.

The patterns are so unique among various species, thus making it a notable characteristic to identify the species even while not in bloom.

Nervilia sp.
Nervilia sp.

Paphiopedilum sp.
Paphiopedilum sp.

Nervilia sp.
Nervilia sp.

Post 26 – 05/November/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Perpendicularly bent leaf blades.

Leaf blades in orchids with pseudobulbs arise from the apex of the bulb, with the axis of both remaining same and in a straight line. However, there are cases in which the leaves bent perpendicularly to the axis of the bulb.

This phenomenon is very rare and occurs in only a handful of orchid species. The reason for this unique characteristic is a little vague. During my studies, it was observed that those species with perpendicularly bent leaves always grow facing a particular direction. Hence, it is to be believed that the perpendicularly bent arrangement of the leaf blade may be for receiving maximum sunlight.

Example of perpendicularly bent leaf blades.
Example of perpendicularly bent leaf blades.

Example of perpendicularly bent leaf blades.
Example of perpendicularly bent leaf blades.

Example of a normal leaf blade.
Example of a normal leaf blade.

Post 25 – 02/November/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Nectary grooves or channels.

Orchids have developed many resources to attract different pollinators. Nectar is one of the most prominent of those. Many floral parts have developed to great extent to contain the nectar and to attract pollinators with their own mechanisms.

A unique and not so common way to attract pollinators is by providing nectar in grooves or channels on the surface of the lip, the most exposed floral part. As the pollinators land on the lip, the shiny wet grooves or channels lead them to the pollinarium to help in pollination.

Liparis sp.
Liparis sp.

Neottia sp.
Neottia sp.

Post 24 – 30/October/2020