Pleione humilis (Sm.) D.Don.

Epiphyte, observed as lithophytes also. Pseudo-bulbs coespitose, narrowly ovoid, tapering to the apex, enveloped partly with fibrous sheaths. Leaves membranous, elliptic, acute, tapering to the base, sessile, about 4 to 7 cm long and 3 to 3 cm in width at its centre, deciduous during flowering season. Peduncle from the base of the pseudo-bulb, enveloped in tubular sheaths. Flowers solitary, throughout white, except the lip which is speckled with brown spots and streaks. Sepals sub-equal, oblong, acute, spreading and are five nerved. Petals much narrower than the sepals but slightly longer, obtuse, three nerved. Lip shortly clawed, sub-orbicular, without side lobes, expanding into a wide mouth with emarginate apex, the disc with numerous fringed lamellae.

Coelogyne humilis, Lindl (Pleione humilis (Sm.) D.Don
Coelogyne humilis Lindl (Pleione humilis (Sm.) D.Don.

The Pursuit

The deciduous nature of this species during the flowering season is a surprise to all flower watchers. Like the phrase “out of the blue”, one day all the of trees in its habitat will be blooming with attractive white flowers. I had studied this plant in detail and surveyed possible habitats and spotted them when they were in leaves only. The fibrous sheaths which envelop the bulbs will help to identify the species. As I was aware of the flowering season, I decided to visit the place during those months. In the year 2012, I visited the area during the flowering season. To my surprise I found a lot of trees on the way itself with this white beauty in full bloom. Proceeded ahead, deep inside the forest to be away from the peering eyes of the tourists. As it blooms in the winter months, which are devoid of dusty and gusty winds, finding a perfect flower is not a difficult affair. However, getting a perfect photograph of an orchid flower with a wide mouthed lip is always some what tricky. Irrespective of the position of the flash, it produces dark shades inside the lip. I have to bring out all my expertise in “micro-flash use” to bring out this wonderful photograph. The winter months also provide a good environment to spend considerable time to study and document each flower.