Orchids of Nagaland
Nearly one sixth of this beautiful state of Nagaland is covered with tropical and subtropical rainforests and approximately 340 of the total 1250 species of orchids are found only here- You do the math! Covered with dense forests, its wilderness bring its own charm to the place with several species found nowhere else in the planet! Here are a few of the orchids which make Nagaland a botanist’s paradise. Let’s take a look
Dzokou/dzoku lily: It is a beautiful and rare species of lily, found only in the dzuko valley which is well hidden in the high mountain ranges in the Manipur-Nagaland border. The endemic dzuko lily is very much similar to the well renowned siroi lily but it’s more pinkish in color making it a brighter version of the siroi lily.
Dove flower: Also goes by the name Foxtail Orchid or “Kopou phool” as termed by the locals. It is an exotic blooming orchid belonging to the Vanda alliance of flower species. It is a widely useful flower in the north eastern states as it is worn by women as an accessory. It is the state flower of Assam although found abundantly in Nagaland too. It is regarded as a symbol of love and affection but extensive bio piracy has almost brought it to the brink of extinction.
Eared Leaf Coneflower: This flowering specie is the only one among the Himalayan flowers which is found east of the Ganges, extending even up to certain parts of Bihar. Predominantly found in Nagaland and other NE states, this ear shaped leafy plant bears bluish to purplish flowers with spikes evident in its stalks- making it very unique.
Blue Vanda: One of the most popular Asiatic orchids, Vandas are very demanded by its blue/purple, long lived flowers making it one the few flowers having an almost true blue appearance as there are no exactly blue flowers found in the world. This orchid is native to NE India where it grows in elevations ranging from 2500-4000 feet in the Himalayan foothills. Dimapur, situated in Nagaland boasts its presence with one of the very few bluish-purple orchids in the country. The rapid decimation of this species from the wild has led to stringent protection measures.
Spotted Coneflower: Another rare flowering plant found predominantly in Nagaland and Meghalaya. Present in the hilly areas of Nagaland, it is a small flowering species which generally blooms during the months of November- December. The name ‘spotted’ comes from the descriptions of its leaves which may or may not be spotted.
East Himlayan Pink Corydalis: This is a perennial herb with flowers miniscule with a pinkish hue. This is found only in the east Himalayan ranges at medium-high altitudes. Flowers during the months of March-August.
Cymbidium Tigrinum: Also known as the Tiger stripped Cymbidium- This majestic flower was first discovered here itself in Nagaland. The florets of this beautiful flower has tiger-like stripes and are large flowers having a patterned lip as described. They have been depicted, used in pictures, traditions and is a relevant component of the culture, history of Nagaland. The tiger shaped boat’s orchid found abundantly in the Intanki Wildlife sanctuary, Kohima.
Bamboo Orchid: Bamboo Orchid is the sole accepted species of the genus Arundina. This species is threatened by extinction and since its habitat is restricted to rainforests, mangroves – protection becomes tougher. It is a perennial flowering plant shrouded in several colors, found in the Peren district of Nagaland.
Venus fly Trap: 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 the North East. It’s commonly visible in bright attractive colors and its charm will surely attract you – So no need to keep looking for it!
Thunia: A rare cane orchid which is native to Nagaland. Its beauty can really not be judged as other commonly found beautiful orchids in the world- The orchid hangs vertically downward which makes it difficult to identify, but the beauty of this flower is as rare as its presence- it is difficult to cultivate in other areas. The government of Nagaland has been taking protectionary measures in order to conserve this beautiful flower.
Leafy coneflower: As the name suggests, the leaf of this flowering orchid is the show stopper. It is one of the rarest flowers to exist, being widely distributed but in isolated places such as the Naga hills. The orchid bears coarsely toothed leaves, pale blue flowers. Flowers during the month of November.
Tree Rhododendron: The world’s largest rhododendron as per Guinness records show a particular one on Mt. Japfu in Nagaland, whicih had reached a height of 20m. In fact, this specie of rhodendron is the state flower of Nagaland. Characterized by dark red flowers, a postal stamp was also issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower.