Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Elongating peduncle and rachis.

In a few orchid species, the peduncle and rachis get elongated after anthesis (flowering), while the fruits are developing. In many cases the combined length of the peduncle and rachis can achieve almost 4-5 times its length than while in flower. 

Also, these species are conspicuous with their long maturing time of seeds, many take almost a year or so.

Calanthe sp.

Post 43 – 27/December/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Forward bending spur.

In an orchid flower, spur (if present) arises from the base of the lip and considered as an extension of the latter. Spurs can be very minute to shorter or longer than the length of the lip. However, in general, irrespective of its shape and size, lips are pendulous (pointing downwards), but in rare cases they are arranged backward pointing also.

However, as an extreme rarity some species have unusually large horn-shaped forward bending spurs.

Aerides sp.
Aerides sp.
Platanthera sp.
Platanthera sp.
Platanthera sp.

Post 42 – 24/December/2020

Winter Narratives by Naresh Swami – Changing topography.

The beauty of the Himalaya is that, along with seasons its topography changes, from multi shaded slopes to a thick blanket of pure white snow. In my initial years of work in the alpine zone, I was mesmerised to feel the drastic change – floral beds from where I documented hundreds of species disappearing under many feet of snow, then again springing back with more vigour as the sun moves to the northern hemisphere.

Sela Lake, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh.
Sela Lake, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh.
Sela Lake, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh.

Post 6 – 22/Dec/2020.

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Abaxial and adaxial colour variations.

In general, almost all flowers across plant families produce flowers with the same colour/pattern on the abaxial (outer) and adaxial (inside) sides of its sepals and petals. 

However, certain orchid species are an exception to this rule, with sepals and petals bearing entirely different coloration on their outer and inside sides. 

Calanthe sp.
Calanthe sp.
Calanthe sp.

Post 41 – 21/December/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Sessile leaves.

When a leaf is attached (or arises) directly from a cane, stem, rhizome or bulb, the leaf is termed as sessile. To be more precise, a leaf without a stalk (petiole) is called a sessile leaf.

In orchids, sessile-leafed plants are rare in comparison to stalk-leafed plants.

Neottia sp.
Neottia sp.
Neottia sp.

Post 40 – 18/December/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Clasping petiole.

Petiole is the stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the cane, stem or bulb. In many orchid species, the base of the petiole is broad and wholly or partially surrounds the stem. This type of petiole is often referred to as clasping.

This characteristic is found in both epiphytic as well as terrestrial orchids.

Peristylus sp.
Peristylus sp.
Arachnis sp.
Arachnis sp.

Post 39 – 15/December/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Undulate lip margin.

In many plants, margins of leaves, petals and sepals are wavy in characteristics. This type of wavy margin is termed undulate.

In the family of Orchidaceae also, undulating leaves, petals and sepals are not an uncommon characteristic, but certainly not with the lip. Only a few orchid species have their lip margin undulate. Genus Phaius is an example with a few species possessing undulate lip margin.

Phaius sp.


Phaius sp.

Post 38 – 12/December/2020

Winter Narratives by Naresh Swami – Tea pruning.

Tea pruning is the process of removing plant parts like leaves, branches, roots or buds. Pruning of tea plants improves the overall health of plants. The process also helps prevent insects and decay causing organisms to enter the plant, remove unwanted branches, shape and control the growth to provide sufficient sunlight and air to all new leaves resulting in the overall yield and quality of the next crop.

Pruning helps the plants channelize energy for the production of new leaves in large numbers, which is the most important commercial part of a tea plant. More importantly, it helps in maintaining the height of plants to help in easy harvest of its leaves.

In north east India, December and January are the months when the otherwise green estates turn brown.


Pruned plants in the foreground and in the background are the ones waiting pruning.

Post 5 – 10/Dec/2020.

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Keiki.

In a few orchid genera, plants produce plantlets asexually. They arise from the nodes and base of the canes and flowering stems. These little new plants are called keikis. This happens because of the accumulation of growth hormones at those points. The word Keiki is Hawaiian, meaning “little one”.

Genera like Dendorbium and Phalaenopsis are famous for producing Keikis.

Dendrobium sp.
Dendrobium sp.

Post 37 – 09/December/2020

Orchid Lessons by Naresh Swami – Hairy lamella.

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.

Coelogyne sp.
Coelogyne sp.
Coelogyne sp.

Post 36 – 06/December/2020