Peristylus goodyeroides (D.Don) Lindl.

The Plant

Terrestrial. A robust plant from the region, attains height between 1.5 and 2.25 ft. Stem stout, clothed in the lower portion with two blunt, clasping sheaths. Leaves 4 to 6 arranged close together at the apex of the stem, ovate with pointed apex, stalkless and with clasping bases, short sheathed, 4 to 6 cm long and 1.5 to 2 cm in width, veined with dull yellow broad margins on its upper surface. Flowers small, in spike, many, closely arranged, peduncle narrow than the stem and also with two lanceolate acuminate bracts. Tubers oblong, hairy.

The Flower

Flowers small, around 1 cm across. Sepals sub-equal, dorsal broad, concave, lanceolate and arching; lateral pair twice longer as that of  the dorsal, wider at the base, spreading, oblong, obtuse, with undulate margins and folded inwardly. Petals broadly concave, blunt, larger than the dorsal sepal, connivent with the dorsal sepal to form a hood. Lip slightly shorter or of the same length of the lateral sepals, three lobed, middle lobe with blunt apex, side lobes narrow with pointed apex. Floral bracts narrow, lanceolate, erect and arising from the lower side of the ovary. Flowers sweet scented.

Sepals pale brownish pink with minute white margins. Petals greenish white with darker apex. Lip of the same shade as that of the petals, with darker shades on the apex of the three lobes. The disc of the lip got an elongated greenish brown marking on its base.

Peristylus goodyeroides, (D.Don) Lindl.
Peristylus goodyeroides (D.Don) Lindl.

The Pursuit

A plant with sweet scented flowers. I spotted this plant with its scent only. I was camping in a protected area of the forest in the early monsoon months. As that was my first visit to that particular region, every day I crisscrossed the forest in search of new species. Early monsoon showers help a lot of plants to spurt up, as a researcher the spurting up of various plants is a great botanical phenomenon to observe. Every day before my scheduled flower hunt with my assistant, I take short trips to the forested area to watch and observe those new growths and study different plants. On one of those sunny mornings, as usual I was out with my illustrated dictionary to look for some unusual plant structures and sensed some sweet fragrance from the area. The fragrance was so soothing and nice; I was tempted to find out its source. I assumed it might be from some night flowering plants. I started looking around for it and found four plants right in front of me in full bloom. It was an unforgettable experience. In general, plants got bright coloured flowers and sweet scent to attract pollinators, today the same science made the flower attract a researcher. I was overjoyed and went back to the camp to bring my documentation instruments and produced this beautiful photograph.


Habenaria goodyeroides Don., Page no 326 – 327 of The Orchids of the Sikkim-Himalayas by Sir. George King and Robert Pantling (1898).

Mycaranthes floribunda (D.Don) S.C.Chen & J.J.Wood.

Epiphyte. Stems 2 to 3 ft long and about 1.5 cm in diameter. Leaves many, fleshy, linear, sessile, 2 to 3 cm long and hardly 1 cm in width. Racemes in terminal fascicles, 2 to 3 in numbers, sometimes even up to 5, 5 to 12 cm long, woolly with lanceolate bracts at their bases. Flowers around 1 cm across, translucent, petals and sepals and the lip is of a pale yellowish green base. Petals and base of the lip with broad purple shade and deep blotches of the same colour, except on the midrib portion and edges of the petals and on the callus of the lip. Sepals with irregular pale purple markings. Dorsal sepal ovate and the lateral pair more towards a triangular shape, spreading. Petals as long as the dorsal sepal, obovate. The lip is sub-orbicular, 3 lobed, the base with a large callus, lateral lobes oblong, sub-falcate. All parts are pubescent externally.

Eria paniculata, Lindl (Mycaranthes floribunda (D.Don)
Eria paniculata Lindl (Mycaranthes floribunda (D.Don).

The Pursuit

This species can be found growing in the tropical forests of the region. However, the find of this specimen was accidental. It was in the late days of winter and I was on a trip to locate some other plants. The survey was in a valley which is a tributary of the river Teesta, at low elevation. I have to climb down from 4800 ft to the valley. As there was a village in the valley the trek path was regularly used by villagers. As it was the early spring month the undergrowth on the valley was also moderate. Hence I was searching for some terrestrial orchids in the valley. As the schools of the region are yet to open after the winter vacations, a few kids of the village also joined me. As they know me and my work, they also joined the search operation for the ground orchids. After a couple of hours of search and survey, we all were crossing the tributary through a wooden bridge. All of a sudden one of the boys spotted this plant, a pendulous stem about 2 ft long with flowers on a tree next to the bridge. I was surprised to see it in flowers too. The enthusiastic boys were ready to pull the plant down for me. It has always been my policy not to remove the plants from its natural habitats. The plant was hardly 12 to 15 ft high on the tree. My companions were expert enough to climb up the tree before me. This valley of the region is always devoid of any wind or breeze, which makes it very much comfortable to shoot even pendulous plants. With the help of the three kids I produced this wonderful photograph. After that I came across this species in flower many times for the next 2 to 3 months from several locations also.