Dendrobium crepidatum Lindl.

Epiphyte. Stems long as 7 to 20 cm long and thickened around 1 cm at the base and 1 to 2 cm at its apex, green marked with parallel white lines, gradually going thickened upwards from the base, nodes slightly swollen, pendulous. Leaves 4 to 6 cm long, linear-lanceolate, deciduous during flowering. Flowers in short peduncles from the nodes of leafless stems, 2 cm across, often solitary but also seen with two or three together, fleshy, sepals and petals white with pale pink margins, sepals three and petals one veined; lip white with a large pale yellow spot of its middle portion. Sepals and petals broadly oblong. Lip obovate, broad, with undulate edges.

Dendrobium crepidatum, Lindl
Dendrobium crepidatum Lind.

The Pursuit

The species got much attention of Sir George King and Robert Pantling during their monumental work. They found much variations in the property of the species from specimens collected from Sikkim and as well as from Assam and Khasia Hills. They described the Sikkim specimens as “unattractive” and those from the Assam and Khasia Hills as “rather handsome flowers”. I had earlier studied the same species from Assam and Khasia Hills in the year 2009 and 2010 respectively. I was so enthusiastic to find the difference of it from the specimens of the Sikkim-Himalayas and was there in the region in the early summer of 2012. In the earlier visits itself I had found this plant from various tropical valleys. Its thickened, fleshy, leafless, white veined, green, pendulous and leafless stems, 3 or 4 together can be spotted very easily from its habitats. However, the species bloomed much earlier than expected and I missed a “well planned” opportunity. Lost the hope in getting it in flowers that year and marked as “pending observation”. But in the middle of April, I was at an altitude of around 3000 ft on the other side of the district for some other species and I found the same one in bloom, a few of them in flower and in buds. Those opened flowers were somewhat withered and with spots and dirts. So I decided to wait a couple of days for the buds to bloom and got this perfect photograph with its yellow spot and fleshy property of the sepals and petals well recorded. On comparison with the evidences of the species from Assam and Khasia Hills, it has been found that the Sikkim-Himalayan specimens are comparatively smaller in size but equally attractive.

Dendrobium anceps Swartz.

Epiphyte. Stems erect, compressed and as long as 15 to 30 cm and 1 to 2 cm in width. Leaves shortly ensiform, coriaceous, lanceolate, acute with overlapping (equitant) bases, 2 to 4 cm long and 1 to 2 cm in width. Flowers axillary and produced singly on small floral bracts, lateral. Flowers 2 cm across, greenish yellow with reddish brown markings and shades on the disc of the lip and its underside. Sepals unequal, elliptic, obtuse with the lateral ones clasped together at the base and much larger than the dorsal. Petals much narrower than the sepals, spreading, elliptic and blunt. Lip oblong, slightly decurved, the edges entire in the lower portion and crisped in the upper part.

Dendrobium anceps, Swartz
Dendrobium anceps Swartz

The Pursuit

Due to its over collection for commercial purposes, this species almost disappeared from its natural habitats. In my 3 to 4 years of flower hunt in the region I had come across only a few plants of this species from the wild. It is a native of tropical valleys and the forest fires, a common feature of summer days, had almost destroyed most of its habitats. Luckily I got this species 4 years back and decided to document it the next blooming season itself, as I predict a new dam construction near to its habitat will make all the trees disappear sooner or later. For three continuous years, part of my study tours I regularly visited North East states during April and May. In the year 2011 I added this species also to my agenda. My anxiety was whether the plant will be there or not? After crossing the first hurdle with happiness, then it was to find out the buds and its blooming dates. The plants were at an height of 35 to 50 ft up on tall trees and the buds were on the other side of the stem which prevented a good view from the ground. To ascertain the buds, every day I climbed those rough tall trees, badly bruising my thighs. The temperature on those tropical valleys was also very high which make one exhausted at a quick pace. Mostly with vanishing species, I have to put extra efforts to document it. This species was one of that category. Finally, after several visits and unending climbs, I found them in bloom. To produce perfect photographs on top of a tall tree with not much support is also a very difficult work. The camera, flashes and its accessories together make up a more than a few kilos and handling them at those heights need much courage and experience. Those were my class room days and I was not a good “jungle man” to handle all those tricky things on top of a tall tree. However, the photograph I got was a perfect one, that also without much hurt.

Dendrobium amoenum Wall.

Epiphyte, mostly pendulous. Stem long as 35 to 70 cm and 1 to 2 cm in diameter, slightly thickened at nodes. Leaves alternate, 4 to 6 cm long and 1 to 2 cm in width, oblong lanceolate, apex acute. Flowers beautiful, 2 to 3 cm across, arising from nodes of leafless stems, 2 to 3 from short bracteate penduncles. Sepals white with pale violet margins, petals white with a violet blotch on its tips tip, lip white with a violet blotch near its apex and another greenish yellow towards its middle with a few purple streaks on its sides. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, obtuse, three veined, slightly longer than the petals. Petals broader than the sepals, ovate, obtuse, one veined. Lip long as the sepals, oblong-obovate, clawed at the base with broad side lobes; the terminal lobe with undulate edges and rounded or sometimes with pointed tips; with puberulous upper and lower surfaces.

Dendrobium amoenum, Wall
Dendrobium amoenum Wall

The Pursuit

One of the most charming of Indian Dendrobes” – wrote Sir. George King and Robert Pantling. The plant’s pendulous and long stems always attract attention. Found growing in the tropical valleys and to altitudes up to 5000 ft in the hills. I had spotted the species, a few of them, from an intermediate altitude and waited for the monsoon season to see them in flowers. The month of May is the season of many blooming and I am forced to travel long distances every day to study and document various other species. But always remembered this “charming” one. Visited the area in the mid of May to see them in buds. Hoping it will be in bloom, visited the spot after 8 days to find it again in buds only. The whole program to the North hills was to be re-scheduled for this species and I waited for the next few days to see it in bloom. Every morning I made a long drive to the spot to see buds only, but seeing the buds swollen was encouraging. Finally, on the fourth morning, I got to see this “charming” beauty in full bloom. Selected the best of the best flower, a very difficult job – to select a beauty from a dozen beauties!!! The pendulous and long stem always swings in the wind thus making it difficult to pin sharp the flower. However, I am lucky enough to have the experience of working in those windy conditions and produced this wonderful photograph with some extra micro lighting techniques.