Want to click that perfect picture? Well, Meghalaya awaits you- with its diverse, rare and exotic collection of beautiful flowers, a mesmerizing presence of exotic orchids, and plants, so very rare and unique found all along this beautiful state of India. Meghalaya is an all-round tourist destination, where even the heaviest monsoons still manage to provide you a breathtaking view of its rich diversity. It’s a photographer’s paradise: every place here has something unique to offer. Blessed with a temperate climate, Meghalaya boasts a variety of plants and several endangered orchids which lend their grace to the region. Nearly, about a third of the world’s total orchid species are found here. The highest number of orchid species are found in the Mawsmai and Mamluh forests. Enroute to Cherapunjee-the wettest place on earth, the forest at Sohrarim is a botanist’s paradise. To enjoy the fauna of the world in its most preserved, sacred form, one has to visit the Mawphlang Sacred Groves where myriad forms of plant life thrive, many of which are found nowhere else. Nokrek Hills are home to a very rare indigenous species of oranges along with several other such exotic plants. Who said you needed to travel the world? Almost every unique variant of plant-life form is found here, in the heart of North East India. Excited right? Well, let us guide you in making up your next trip to “The Land of Orchids” worthwhile. So, here we go. Mentioned below is an exciting brief of some very unique flowers/orchids found exclusively in Meghalaya which can make you fall in love with this pristine state.
It’s so beautiful and pristine that the government has declared a trekking route along the hilly slopes covered with beautiful red rhododendron flowers. These thrive along the route to Shillong peak. Watching natures beauty at its best – the Rhododendron trek is the perfect combination of calmess, serenity coupled with nature’s nuances. The sound of the birds chirping and the flowers unanimously moving with the breeze truly compliments the location which has several gurgling streams and waterfalls along the route which give it a very good reputation.
Himalayan Water Hazel
These almost appear as a large tree but are a shrub. Native only to the Himalayas of North East India. In early spring the very pale yellow flowers are borne in racemes holding upto 30 blooms each. The new shoots are densely downy. The name of the flower perfectly depicts its characteristics. These are found nearby Upper Shillong and even along all the sister hills.
Meghalaya Lantern Flower
This lantern shaped flower is native to Meghalaya and is predominantly found in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The flowers are white-red, beautifully marked with very distinguishing toothed, horn shaped extensions surrounded by large protruding petals.
A very attractive flowering plant, Khasi Balsam is a perennial herb with purple flowers. They are oblique shaped which make it very unique. The name is such as it is only endemic to the Khasi hills, Meghalaya. These look very beautiful when found collectively together in a spread of area and with the backdrop of the surrounding greenery.
Pygmy Water Lily
As the name suggests this is a very tiny water lily. It is only native to Meghalaya and is found only in the Nongkrem pond at Smit, Shillong in khasi hills as an isolated population. Efforts are being made to save this beautiful endangered species from extinction. They bloom in shades of red and white with the leaves and flowers floating in water. They have a mild fragrance too.
Meghalayan Red Water Lily
They are almost similar to the pygmy lily except they are cultivated majorly and are red colored. They are native to Meghalaya and grow in shallow ponds. Lilies together floating in water depict a serene picture altogether which cannot be explained in words.
This particular fruiting plant has been introduced from South American countries like Brazil, Puerto-Rico etc. and it has been cultivated successfully in Meghalaya owing to its climate. Found extensively in most of the parts in Meghalaya, the fruit of this plant is widely consumed and is a popular export commodity from Meghalaya. Interestingly, it is the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation. So, be sure to experience the sweetness next time you visit Meghalaya.
Himalayan Sapria, a rare and interesting root parasite plant, is a botanical curiosity and is sensitive to human intervention. It is related to the better known Rafflesia- the largest flower of the world. The flowers of Himalayan sapria are 20 cm across, and have bright red petals with yellow spots on them. They are found blooming in the months of November to February in isolated regions near the Mawsmai and Mamluh forests, Nokrek biosphere reserve in Meghalaya.
This Indian Carnivorous plant is still one of the most inexplicable things that a botanist ever had to encounter. Found in some parts of the Jaintia hills, the Baghmara area of the Garo hills and adjacent to the Khasi hills, this natural wonder is capable of digesting insects on one hand and look stunningly captivating on the other. They attract prey by means of a blue florescence. It is classified as an endangered species and protection measures have been implemented. The Khasi people call it the tiew-rakot which means demon flower or devouring plant. So, beware folks!
The lady’s slipper Orchids
Meet the state flower of Meghalaya and finally, our table topper! This beautiful marvel of nature has its roots ingrained in the pockets of East and West Khasi Hill districts of Meghalaya. They are known by their local name ‘Knup Mawiang’. What makes them unique is their shape- they have slipper shaped pouches which are colorful and bright to attract and trap insects. The blooming period of these graceful flowers are during the months of June to October. These are greatly considered as symbols of luck and prosperity and it finds itself useful in many rituals performed by certain tribal communities of Meghalaya. It’s commonly visible in bright attractive colors and its charm will surely attract you – So no need to keep looking for it!
Hope to see you soon with your camera and your energy in Meghalaya!!