Many orchid flowers are with ridges on its lip, known as lamella. It can be a single one or upto 5 in numbers. Lamellae can be of the same length, shorter or longer, wavy etc. However, most of them are entire in structure, meaning without any hairy outgrowths. However, there are certain orchid flowers that have multiple lamellae that are hairy (fimbriate).
It is believed that this highly developed mechanism has something to do with pollination of the flowers.
In extremely rare cases, orchid plants produce flowers with all 3 petals of same size, shape and colour, instead of turning one into the otherwise modified form – the lip. These types of flowers are termed peloric.
Pelorism, the term for the formation of flowers that varies from its normal structure, was first described by Charles Darwin.
It is now more than a decade that I enjoy my days in the eastern Himalaya, mostly in the high mountains. In the range I work, the conditions are at its extreme, no matter if it is raining or winter. Very seldom I got the opportunity to be in foothills, especially in the winter days. This year pandemic brought me to the tropical zone, closeted in my camp house since the end of March.
Hence, for the first time in my orchid hunt days, I am enjoying the cooler days in the foothills. It is awesome, blanket or no blanket, running water or warm water, it is like hide and seek. Warm and chilly moments overlapping each other.
But, the afternoons are quite enchanting. After lunch, under the canopy floored blue sky, embracing the slanting sun rays, enjoying the old melodies of Isaignani Shri Ilayaraja, a short nap.
Heaven seems to have come down, courtesy lockdown!
Winter brings all sorts of fresh vegetables into the market. Cauliflower, cabbage, radish, carrot, many leafy vegetables etc., all from the farms of foothill Himalaya, hence organic (almost). I am fond of leafy vegetables, notably spinach (Palak).
Palak can be consumed raw as well as cooked. In the raw state it is with almost 90% of water content, hence having it during long treks helps in not getting dehydrated (carrying water is heavier than carrying Palak!).
On winter days, at least twice a week, our radio lingo communicates “Double P”, our code for Palak-Paneer. The combination is full of iron, calcium, Vitamin K, protein etc., and keeps the body warm also. I love it.
Spur is an extension of the lip, arising from its base, hence almost in all the cases it is of the same colour of the lip or of a lighter/darker version. However, there are a few species that produce spur with unusually bright colour that is entirely different from that of the colouration of the lip and also of other flower parts.
This is a highly evolutionary method adopted by orchid plants to attract pollinators.