10. Coelogyne corymbosa Lindley ORCHIDACEAE

A common orchid of the broad-leaved forest zone of the Sino-Himalayan region, from Nepal eastwards to China, including the Indian states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya. This forest zone is dominated by evergreen oaks, and the orchid can grow both on tree trunks (that is, as an ‘epiphyte’) or on rocks (as a ‘lithophyte’). It was first described by the great nineteenth-century orchid expert John Lindley from specimens collected by Joseph Hooker. Hooker found the plant in Sikkim and the Khasia Mountains during his great expedition to the Himalaya in 1849 and 1850. The white flowers have four characteristic yellow ‘eyes’ on the lip, and are fragrant.

Hand coloured lithograph by W.H. Fitch, after a drawing by Matilda Smith, from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine

     

     

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