Epiphyte. Stems, 30 to 60 cm or even longer, erect, widening to the apex. Leaves 4 to 6 cm in length and around 2 cm in width, oblong, apex sub-obtuse and notched, narrowed to the base, coriaceous. Flowers in short racemes from the nodes of leafy as well leafless stems, number various between 1 and 5, each 3 to 5 cm across. Sepals and petals are purple turning white at the base; lip with a deep purple blotch surrounded with white flushed with pale yellow and a purple mucro. Sepals sub-equal, the dorsal oblong-elliptic, the lateral oblong. Petals broader than the sepals, elliptic. Both sepals and petals many veined. Lip broadly ovate-oblong, hairy inside, the apex slightly and mucronate.
The State Flower of Sikkim. Once a common species of the tropical valleys, collected in large numbers for commercial purposes made it very scarce in its natural habitats. Sir. George King and Robert Pantling described the colouration of flower in detail and I was looking for a perfect match from various locations. However, in most of the cases the description about its sepals and petals was never matched. As per their noting,“the sepals and petals are always purple shading off into a white base”. I decided to look for this species in other locations also. The work I undertook was first of its kind from the region and I wanted it to produce better results. With that intention I visited several locations for this species, to find the exact colouration of flowers as described by the great authors. On high altitudes (above 3800 ft) the flowers are found to be more purplish and at very low altitudes (in the hot valleys of River Teesta) they were more towards a paler shade. Hence, I decided to find the species from an intermediate altitude of 1800 to 2600 ft. I searched for four days in a new location at 2200 ft for this species in vain. Even though I found a lot of them in bloom in some homes, I decided to find a few plants from its natural habitat itself. A young boy of that village, who used to venture deep into the forest, helped me to find a few plants inside the forest. Most of the stems were with full bloom flowers. In those areas the trees are often with many branches which enable easy climbing. We both climbed up to examine those flowers and to my surprise found that the colouration is exactly the same as described by the pioneers of orchids around 120 years ago. It seems the authors also collected the species from around the same altitude for their monumental work. As usual when in plenty, it will be very difficult to find a perfect one to photograph. After climbing several trees found this perfect bunch of flowers and produced this amazing photograph of this Himalayan beauty. This species is a prime example of variations caused due to altitude difference. Even though many species survive on a wide range of altitudes, all of them got their own perfect habitats.