Corybas himalaicus (King & Pantling) Schltr., the only petal-less orchid from the region of eastern Himalayas. In their monumental work King and panting mentioned about a “moist vertical rock” from where their collectors found the species. After more than 125 years, this author during his studies was able to locate the same moist vertical rock and the species thriving on it. The book, TERRESTRIAL ORCHIDS, presents the species in bloom, with its characteristics and habitat described in great detail and dimension.
A small plant of the height 4 to 5 cm. Stem glabrous, with a single sheath near its base. Leaves solitary, 1 to 1.5 cm long, sessile, just under the flower, green with many white nerves. Flower solitary, dorsal sepal blunt, concave, arching over the column and the basal half of the lip, lateral pair short, filiform, lying between the two spurs of the lip. Petals none. Lip oblong, longer than the dorsal sepal, the basal portion convolute, with two short cylindric straight spurs at the base.
This species is the only orchid with no petals from the region of Sikkim-Himalayas.
Corysanthes himalaica, King and Pantling (Corybas himalaicus, King and Panting (Schltr))
Sir George King and Robert Pantling in their monumental work, “The Orchids of the Sikkim-Himalayas”, published in the year 1898, described this plant. They found it from Lam-teng in the Lachen Valley at an altitude of 9000 ft, from a vertical moist rock. Part of my research work, I surveyed all the areas of Lam-teng, which is mostly of very difficult terrain, with high rocky mountains on one side of the river and dense forests on the other. The mention of “moist vertical rock” by Sir George King and Robert Pantling made me search and survey all the vertical rocks especially those on the banks of the river. After a search of 18 days, I finally found the plant from a moist vertical rock itself, probably the same place from where Sir George King and Robert Pantling found it some 125 years ago!!!!!