Notes on diversity and distribution of tribe Orchideae in Meghalaya

· Articles
Authors

Durgesh Verma, S.K. Singh* & A.A. Mao

Botanical Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Shillong -793003, Meghalaya
durgesh.kv@gmail.com; aamao2008@gmail.com
*Corresponding author: S.K. Singh email: sksbsinc@rediffmail.com

Abstract

The tribe Orchideae is represented by 28 species, 7 genera falling under 4 subtribes viz. Orchidinae, Herminiinae, Platantherinae and Habenarinae in Meghalaya. Of these, genus Peristylus is largest (11 species) followed by Habenaria (9 species). The genera Brachycorythis, Platanthera and Pecteilis are represented by 2 species each; while remaining genera like Diplomeris and Herminium are represented by 1 species each. Key characters of each ones along with phenology, distribution in Meghalaya and other states of NE India have been given. Colored photographs of species have been provided for their easy identification in the field.

Keywords Orchideae, diversity, Meghalaya

Introduction

Tribe Orchideae (Orchidaceae: Orchidoideae) is characterized by plants with herbaceous habit, terrestrial, reduced or elongated stem, deciduous, bearing underground tubers or rarely tuberless, leaves membranous, rarely plicate, inflorescence terminal, flowers solitary or in sparse or dense racemes, labellum spurred or spurless, anther 1, loculi 2 with each having only one fertile cell and enclosed in anther cells, true rostellum absent, rostellar appendage rarely present, column very short, staminodes rugulose, usually present close to the anther cells, stigma flat, swollen and globular or standing out as stalked appendages.

As far as the studies on tribe Orchideae of Meghalaya is concerned, there is mention about several species in floristics and checklist (Hooker, 1890, Joseph & Rao, 1980, Kataki, 1984, Lucksom, 2007, Rao, 2007, Roy et al., 2012) but a consolidated account is lacking. The members of tribe are very often encountered by naturalists, botanists and researchers in different forests of the State, leading to confusion about their identity. To overcome this, the present study has attempted to provide a consolidated, up-to-date report of the species growing in the state along with pertinent details. The tribe can be broadly categorized in four subtribes namely Orchidinae, Herminiinae, Platantherinae and Habenarinae. The subtribe Herminiinae comprise of maximum number of species (12) followed by Habenarinae (10), Platantherinae (4) and Orchidinae with 2 species. Members of tribe Orchideae naturally grow in green grassy hill slopes and are often being mistaken by field botanists as grasses due to their appearance and unattractive flowers. These plants generally flowers during rainy season and remains in dormant stage in winters with only underground tubers. Species like Brachycorythis galeandra, Habenaria khasiana, Habenaria acuifera, Herminium lanceum, and Peristylus densus are the most common species under the tribe that share the habitat of most common grassland species like Spathoglottis pubescens, Anthogonium gracile, Hypoxis aurea, Curculigo orchioides, Drosera peltata etc.

The present study is based on the scrutiny of literature, herbarium studies and field observations. In parenthesis the correct name, taxonomic citation, brief description, phenology and exsiccate is provided. Within the family Orchidaceae, the tribe and subtribe level classification of D. L. Szlachetko (1995) is followed. Unless otherwise mentioned all the cited specimens are deposited at Herbarium of Botanical Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre Shillong, localities other than cited for Meghalaya and States of North-East India are based on published literatures.

Systematic enumeration

Subtribe Orchidinae

Brachycorythis galeandra (Rchb.f.) Summerh., Kew Bull. 10: 241. 1955. Platanthera galeandra Rchb.f., Linnaea 25: 226. 1852.

Tubers oblong, not lobed. Stem erect, glabrous, sheathed; sheaths 2, tubular, acute. Leaves sessile, many, oblong or ovate, acute, base sheathing. Flowers pinkish white; bracts lanceolate or oblong-ovate, acute; sepals and petals subequal, ovate, acute; lip shortly clawed, cuneately obcordate, entire, base puberulous; spur short, conical.

Flowering: June-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Laitlyngkot, Mawryngkneng, Nongkrem, Nongstoin, Shillong, Sadew forest, Umkhlaw, Upper Shillong), Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

Specimen examined: Upper Shillong, 09.08.1930, G.K Deka 23169; Sadew forest, 13.07.1930, P.C. Kanjilal 8190; Laitlyngkot, 11.08.1938, R.N. De 16920; Shillong, 14.07.1936, S.R. Sharma 13579; Nongstoin, 18.06.1958, G. Panigrahi 16395; Umkhlaw, 31.05.1965, N.P. Balakrishnan 42560; Mawryngkneng, 18.07.1956, G.K. Deka s.n.; Nongkrem, 28.06.1953, H. Deka s.n.; Cherrapunjee, 29.07.1946, G.K. Deka 22224.

Brachycorythis helferi Summerh., Kew Bull. 10: 235. 1955.

Root tuber 1, oblong. Stems pubescent. Leaves sessile, elliptic-lanceolate, acute. Flowers green; bracts linear-lanceolate, acuminate; dorsal sepal lanceolate, acuminate; lateral sepals ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, recurved; lip purplish, sessile at the base of column, larger than the sepals, orbicular, concave, margin infolded; spur infundibular, acute, shorter than the pedicelled ovary.

Flowering: July-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Nongpoh), Assam and Mizoram.

Specimen examined: fide Kataki (1986).

Subtribe Herminiinae

Herminium lanceum (Thunb. ex Sw.) Vuijk, Blumea 11: 228. 1961. Ophrys lancea Thunb. ex Sw., Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Handl. 21: 223. 1800.

Tubers two, unequal, oblong. Stems erect, slender. Leaves few, usually 2, sessile, linear, midnerve distinct. Flowers pale-green, decurved; bracts green, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, shorter or as long as the pedicelled ovary; pedicelled ovary ribbed; sepals broadly oblong, acute; petals as long as the sepals, linear; lip larger than sepals and petals, deflexed from the base, 3-lobed at apex; lateral lobes about 5 times longer than the midlobe, filiform, curved; midlobe very short, acute; column very short; viscidia small & round.

Flowering: July-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Elephant falls, Jowai-Jarain, Laitlyngkot, Nartiang, Shillong peak, Sadew, Malki hills, Upper Shillong), Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland & Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Shillong, 26.08.1970, A.S. Rao 38630; Jowai-Jarain, 16.08.1968, N.P. Balakrishnan 46104; Nartiang, 25.08.1968, N.P. Balakrishnan 47081; Woodland compound, 18.09.1973, T.M. Hynniewta 53078; Upper Shillong, 06.08.1938, G.K. Deka 20250; Elephant falls, 24.09.1956, G. Panigrahi 3740; Mulki hills, 24.08.1969, G.K. Deka 23348; Sadew forest, 20.08.1950, G.K. Deka s.n.; Cherrapunjee, 29.07.1945, G.K. Deka s.n.; Shillong peak, 28.09.1959, G.K. Deka 19141; Laitlyngkot, 17.07.1946, G.K. Deka 22223.

Peristylus affinis (D. Don) Seidenf., Dansk Bot. Ark. 31: 48. 1977. Habenaria affinis D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 25. 1825.

Tubers oblong-ellipsoid. Stem with 2-4 tubular sheaths at base. Leaves 3-5, elliptic to ovate-lanceolate, apex acute. Flowers erect; sepals olive to brownish green, petals and lip creamy white; dorsal sepal erect, oblong, slightly concave, 1-veined, apex obtuse; lateral sepals spreading, oblong, 1-veined, apex obtuse; petals forming a loose hood with dorsal sepal, ovate, oblique, 1-veined, apex obtuse; lip spreading, oblong-obovate, ecallose, papillose near mouth of spur, base concave-saccate, 3-lobed near middle; spur pendulous, saccate; viscidia subellipsoid; rostellum small, with short arms on both sides.

Flowering: July-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Barapani), Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Barapani forest, 21.07.1944, G.K. Deka 21786.

Note: This species is not recorded so far from Meghalaya, but the specimen is available at ASSAM in the name of Peristylus goodyeroides var. affinis (D. Don) T. Cooke which is synonymous with the present species.

Peristylus constrictus (Lindl.) Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 300. 1835. Herminium constrictum Lindl., Edwards’s Bot. Reg.18: sub pl. 1499. 1832.

Tubers 2, unequal. Stem with many tubular imbricating sheaths from base to middle. Leaves 5 or 6, elliptic-oblong, acute, clustered at the middle of the stem. Flowers white; bracts lanceolate, acuminate, longer than the ovary; sepals lanceolate, acute-acuminate, margins inrolled; petals ovate, lanceolate, acute, longer and broader than the sepals; lip 3-lobed upto the middle; lobes linear-oblong, middle one slightly broader; spur globular.

Flowering: June-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Khasi hills), Assam, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: fide Hooker & Thomson (1890).

Peristylus cubitalis (R. Br.) Kraenzl. Orchid., Gen. Sp. 1: 502. 1898. Habenaria cubitalis R. Br., Prodr. 312. 1810.

Tubers 2, oblong, unequal. Stems sheathed below, few-leaved. Leaves sessile, scattered, oblong-lanceolate, acute, sheathing at base. Flowers dense, greenish; bracts linear-lanceolate, as long as the pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals oblong or ovate-oblong, acute, 1-nerved, subequal; lip sessile at the base of column, as long as the sepals, 3-lobed; sidelobes filiform, spreading, slightly longer than the midlobe; midlobe broader, oblong, obtuse; spur clavate, shorter than the pedicelled ovary.

Flowering: August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Pynursla).

Specimen examined: fide Kataki (1986)

Peristylus densus (Lindl.) Santapau & Kapadia, J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 57: 128. 1960. Coeloglossum densum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 302. 1835.

Tubers subglobose to oblong-ovoid. Stem with 2 or 3 tubular sheaths at base, 4-6-leaved. Leaves widely spaced along stem, ovate, oblong, or oblong-lanceolate. Flowers yellowish green or pale green to whitish; dorsal sepal narrowly oblong-ovate, concave, 1-veined, apex obtuse; lateral sepals spreading, oblong-lanceolate, oblique, 1-veined, apex obtuse; petals connivent with dorsal sepal and forming a hood, narrowly ovate-oblong, 1-veined, apex obtuse; lip narrowly oblong-ovate, divided near base by a transverse ridge into a short, concave hypochile and a longer, deflexed, deeply 3-lobed epichile, ecallose; spur pendulous, cylindric-clavate, apex sometimes shallowly 2-lobed; viscidia ellipsoid; rostellum with short arms.

Flowering: July-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Jowai, Laitlyngkot, Mawsmai, Mawsynram, Pynursla, Pynursla-Dawki, Upper Shillong), Nagaland and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Mawsmai, 25.06.1941, G.K. Deka 22182; Cherrapunjee, 28.07.1946, G.K. Deka 22238; Jowai, 23.07.1965, N.P. Balakrishnan 42932; Cherra, 21.08.1937, N.L. Bor 15780; Pynursla, 25.08.1956, G. Panigrahi 2921; Laitlyngkot, 07.10.1930, P.C. Kanjilal 8601; Pynursla-Dawki, 25.11.1956, G. Panigrahi 4632; Upper Shillong, 06.08.1938, G.K. Deka 19778.

Peristylus goodyeroides (D. Don) Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 299. 1835. Habenaria goodyeroides D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 25. 1825.

Root tubers 2, unequal, oblong. Leaves sub-sessile, elliptic, acute or acuminate. Flowers greenish; bracts lanceolate, acuminate, equalling the curved pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals sub-equal, ovate-oblong, acute or obtuse; lip sessile at the base of column, 3-lobed; sidelobes oblong, falcate; midlobe ovate, obtuse, slightly shorter but broader than the sidelobes, vary variable; spur small, globose.

Flowering: August-October.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Burnihat, Leska, Nongpoh) and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Near Leska IB, 26.09.2007, M. Bhaumik 116517; Balaiba Tilla, Nongpoh, 01.08.1964, J. Josesph 37529; Burnihat, 23.10.1935, G.K. Deka 19785.

Peristylus gracilis Blume, Bijdr. Fl. Ned. Ind. 404. 1825.

Root tuber 1, spherical. Stems short, sheathed. Leaves sessile, subradical, elliptic-lanceolate, acuminate. Flowers green, small, dense; bracts ovate, acute, shorter than the pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals linear-lanceolate, acute, sub-equal; lip sessile at the base of column, 3-lobed, sidelobes longer than the midlobe, filiform; midlobe oblong, obtuse; spur fusiform, shorter than the sepals.

Flowering: June-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Jarain, Shillong Peak).

Specimen examined: Near Jarain IB, 28.06.1973, N.C. Deori 51742.

Peristylus hamiltonianus Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 299. 1835.

Root tubers elongated. Stems stout, sheathed. Leaves sessile, oblong-lanceolate, ovate-lanceolate, acute. Flowers dense, greenish; bracts linear-lanceolate, acuminate, equalling the pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals subequal, ovate, concave, acute; lip sessile; sidelobes slender, falcate, shorter than the midlobe; midlobe broadly oblong, obtuse; spur subglobose.

Flowering: August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Shillong, Upper Shillong) and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: fide Kataki (1986).

Peristylus lacertifer (Lindl.) J.J. Sm, Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 3, 9: 23. 1927. Coeloglossum lacertiferum Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 302. 1835.

Root tubers 2, almost equal. Stems short, erect, sheathed. Leaves sessile, radical, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate. Flowers greenish; bracts lanceolate, acute, as long as the pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals subequal, ovate-oblong, acute; lateral sepals falcate; lip sessile at the base of column, longer than the sepals, reflexed, 3-lobed; sidelobes filiform, curved, longer than the midlobe; midlobe oblong, acute; spur short ovoid.

Flowering: August-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Barapani, Cherrapunjee, Mawsmai, Shillong, Baghmara, Umthalong), Manipur and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Woodland compound, 12.09.1966, S.K. Kataki 37138; Umthalong, 21.08.1968, N.P. Balakrishnan 46915; Mawsmai, 19.09.1959, G.K. Deka 19035.

Peristylus mannii (Rchb.f.) S.M. Mukerjee, Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 21: 153. 1953. Coeloglossum mannii Rchb. f., Linnaea 41: 54. 1877.

Root tubers 2, unequal. Stems slender, sheathed. Leaves sessile, 2-3, narrowly linear. Flowers greenish; bracts ovate, acute, much shorter than the pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals sub-equal, ovate-oblong, acute; lip shortly clawed, 3-iobed; sidelobes linear, shorter than the midlobe; midlobe ovate, acute, broader; spur very short, inflated.

Flowering: July-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Laitlyngkot, Mairang, Mawphlang, Shillong Peak forest), Manipur and Nagaland.

Specimen examined: Mairang, 20.08.1976, G.H. Bhaumik  60317; Woodland compound, Shillong, 12.09.1966, S.K. Kataki 37139; Cherrapunjee, 12.07.1944, G.K. Deka 22185; Shillong peak forest, 28.09.1959, G.K. Deka 19141.

Peristylus parishii Rchb.f., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 30: 139. 1874.

Tubers ovoid-oblong. Stem with 3-5 tubular sheaths at base, 4- 5-leaved. Leaves clustered near middle of stem, elliptic-lanceolate to ovate, apex acute. Flowers green; dorsal sepal erect, ovate, concave, 1-veined, apex obtuse; lateral sepals spreading, oblong, oblique, 1-veined, apex obtuse; petals spreading, ovate, oblique, 1-veined; lip spreading to deflexed, ovate, ecallose, base shallowly concave, 3-lobed near middle; spur pendulous, fusiform; viscidia oblong; rostellum with short arms.

Flowering: June-July.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Nongpoh), Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Nongpoh, 28.06.1941, S.R. Sharma  21698A.

Peristylus richardianus Wight, Icon. Pl. Ind. Orient. t. 1697. 1852.

Tubers 2, unequal, ovoid. Leaves 4 – 5, alternate, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, sheathing at the base. Flowers greenish; dorsal sepal oblong, notched at apex, 1- nerved; lateral sepals linear-lanceolate, cupulate at the apex; petals broader than the sepals, ovate, obtuse, 1-nerved; lip 3-lobed, clawed towards the base; claw concave; midlobe slightly reflexed, conical, obtuse, 3-nerved; lateral lobes horn-like, filiform, erect; spur clavate.

Flowering: August-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Upper Shillong) and Arunachal Pradesh.

Specimen examined: Upper Shillong, 07.09.1978, A.N. Rao 62308A.

Subtribe Platantherinae

Pecteilis susannae (L.) Raf., Fl. Tellur. 2: 38. 1837. Orchis susannae L., Sp. Pl. 2: 939. 1753.

Root tubers 2, elongated. Stems tall, erect, leafy. Leaves sessile, ovate-oblong, acute, base infolded, sheathing. Flowers white; dorsal sepal sub-orbicular; lateral sepals broadly ovate; petals linear-oblong; lip sessile at the base of column, 3- lobed; sidelobes much broader than the midlobe, truncate, pectinate; midlobe linear, obtuse; spur slender.

Flowering: August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Ri Bhoi), Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim

Specimen examined: fide Kataki (1986).

Pecteilis triflora (D. Don) Tang & F.T. Wang, Acta Phytotax. Sin. 1: 62. 1951. Habenaria triflora D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 25. 1825.

Tubers 2, elongated, ovate. Stem stout, terete, sheathed with leaf bases. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, acute, upper leaves narrower and acuminate, middle ones largest. Flowers white; dorsal sepal almost round, 5-veined; lateral sepals oblong-ovate, 6-veined, base oblique; petals small, linear, broader at the base, 1-nerved; lip flabelliform, tripartite at the middle; lateral lobes hatchet-shaped, slightly dentate, base with two deltoid calli, mid-lobe shorter than the lateral lobes, acute, linear-lanceolate, raised upwards along the length of the lip; spur longer than the ovary; viscidium small, lanceolate.

Flowering: August-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Shillong, Nongpoh, Umsaw).

Specimen examined: Noomati-Nongpoh, 18.09.1965, J. Joseph 43624.

Platanthera concinna (Hook.f.) Kraenzl., Orchid. Gen. Sp. 1: 621. 1899. Habenaria concinna Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 155. 1890.

Stem with spike 10-20 cm. Leaves almost imbricating, amplexicaule, lower obtuse, upper gradually smaller acute. Spike 5-11 cm; bracts ovate-lanceolate, acute; dorsal sepals 3-nerved, ovate, obtuse; lateral sepals reflexed, obtuse, 1-nerved; petals as long as the dorsal sepal, 1-3-nerved; lip narrow; rostellum triangular.

Flowering: June-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Kalapani).

Specimen examined: Khasi hills, Kalapani Hooker & Thomson 1281 (K image!)

Platanthera dyeriana (King & Pantl.) Kraenzl., Orchid. Gen. Sp. 1: 636. 1899. Habenaria dyeriana King & Pantl., J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 65: 133. 1896.

Stems slender, erect, 10-20 cm long. Leaves sessile, oblong-lanceolate, acute, gradually smaller upwards. Flowers green; bracts lanceolate, acuminate, equalling the dorsal sepal; dorsal sepal lanceolate, acute; lateral sepals narrowly oblong, reflexed; petal lanceolate, as long as dorsal; margins infolded; lip sessile at the base of column, narrowly oblong-lanceolate, acute, as long as sepals, deflexed, entire; spur slender, curved, as long as or longer than the pedicelled ovary.

Flowering: July-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Khasi hills) Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: East Khasi Hills district, near Mawsynram, 25.10.2010. S.K. Singh & Ramesh Kumar 104025 (CAL!)

Subtribe Habenarinae

Diplomeris pulchella D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 26. 1825.

Roots sub-tuberous, creeping. Stems short, slender, sheathed. Leaves sessile, 2, oblong, acute. Scapes devoid of sheaths or bracts, 1-flowered. Flowers white, spurred; spur 3-5 cm long, slender, recurved; bracts green, cymbiform, acuminate, as long as the pedicelled ovary; sepals ovate-lanceolate, acute, 3-5 nerved; dorsal sepals slightly shorter than the lateral sepals; petals as long as the dorsal sepal but much broader, acute, 3-nerved, the outer 2 dichotomous; lip obovate, many nerved; apex emarginate, mucronate in the sinus.

Flowering: August-November.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Dawki, Dumpep, Leska, Mawmluh, Mawsmai, Pongtung, Sohrarim) Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Specimen examined: Leska trijunction, 27.09.2007, M. Bhaumik 116589; Pongtung forest, 28.08.1935, S.R. Sharma 12170; Dumpep, 28.08.1935, G.K. Deka 12426; Mamloo (Mawmluh), 07.09.1930, Sister Dagmar 22456; Mawsmai near Shella road, 11.08.1962, D.B. Deb 28728; Sohrarim, 22.11.1938, R.N. De 17145; Mowlingdong, 18.08.2012, D.K. Roy & S. Panday 125699.

Habenaria acuifera Wall. ex Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 325. 1835.

Tubers 2, unequal. Stems stout, few-leaved. Leaves sessile, linear-lanceolate acuminate. Flowers golden yellow; bracts lanceolate, acuminate, as long as or shorter than the beaked pedicelled ovary; dorsal sepal broadly oblong, concave, obtuse; lateral sepals ovate-oblong, concave; petals linear-oblong; lip erect, 3-lobed; sidelobes short, subulate; midlobe much longer than the sidelobes, linear; spur clavate, as long as or shorter than the pedicelled ovary.

Flowering: June-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Barapani, Cherrapunji, Jowai, Garampani-Jowai, Jarain, Khleihriat, Mawryngkneng, Waldien Fide, Nongkhlaw, Nongpoh, Umsaw), Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

Specimen examined: Near Khleihriat, 24.07.1965, N.P. Balakrishnan 42938; Umsaw, 28.06.1942, R.N. De 21703; Barapani, 25.07.1948, G.K.Deka s.n.; Near Nongkhlaw IB, 24.08.1976, G.H. Bhaumik 60430; Jarain, 23.07.1957, G.K. Deka 10143; Waldien Fide, 10.08.1930, P.C. Kanjilal 8338; Garampani-Jowai, 30.10.1956, G. Panigrahi 4304; Mawryngkneng, 17.07.1954, M.L. Saikia s.n.

Habenaria arietina Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 138. 1890.

Tubers oblong. Leaves ovate-lanceolate acute to acuminate, more or less close together on stem. Spike 15-20 flowered. Flowers green; bracts, as long as or shorter than the flower, leaf-like, lanceolate, acute; sepals lanceolate, acute, sparsely papillose at margins, 5-nerved; petals obliquely ovate-lanceolate, acute, broad towards base, densely ciliolate at margins and along veins within, sparsely pubescent all over within, 3-5 nerved;
lip 3-lobed, pubescent at base externally; midlobe linear, as long as the lateral lobes, 3-nerved; lateral lobes long, deeply pectinate along the outer margins; spur longer than the ovary, clavate.

Note: This species closely resembles with H. pectinata, but can be differentiated from later one in petals being pubescent, broader than the dorsal sepals gibbously dilated on the outer (lower) margin, spur rather longer than the ovary.

Flowering: June-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherra, Laitlyngkot, Dumpep), Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Laitlyngkot, 11.08.1938, R.N. De 16920; Laitlyngkot, 17.07.1946, G.K. Deka 22226; Cherra road, 21.08.1937, N.L. Bor 20262; Dumpep, 28.08.1935, S.R. Sharma 20263.

Habenaria dentata (Sw.) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 4: 125. 1919. Orchis dentata Sw., Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Handl. 21: 207. 1800.

Tuber 1, elongated. Leaves sessile, oblong-lanceolate, acute, sheathing at base. Flowers white; bracts ovatelanceolate, acute, slightly longer than the pedicelled ovary; sepals ovate, acute, 5-nerved, sub-equal; petals linear-oblong, 3-nerved, as long as the sepals; lip obovate, 3-lobed; sidelobes much broader than the midlobe, truncate, pectinate; midlobe, ovate, acute; spur longer than the pedicelled ovary, sub-clavate.

Flowering: September-October.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Nokrek peak, Shillong, Umsaw), Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim

Specimen examined: On way to Nokrek peak between Sasatgiri & Dabokgiri, 07.09.1975, M.K.V. Rao 63928; Umsaw, 23.10.1937, S.R. Sharma 20275; Shillong, S.K. Kataki 37258.

Habenaria khasiana Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 151. 1890.

Tubers 2, small, unequal. Leaves few, subradical, sessile, linear, acute or acuminate. Flowers yellowish; bracts lanceolate, acuminate, much shorter than the long beaked pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals ovate, acute, sub-equal; lip sessile at the base of column, longer than the sepals, 3-lobed; sidelobes filiform, spreading, longer than the midlobe; midlobe linear, straight; spur as long as the pedicelled ovary, straight or curved.

Flowering: July-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Balpakram, Cherrapunjee, Jarain, Jowai, Laitlyngkot, Mawmluh, Mawphlang, Pongtung, Rytiang), Manipur and Mizoram.

Specimen examined: Jarain, 17.08.1968, N.P. Balakrishnan 46188; Pongtung, 22.08.1938, G.K. Deka 19804; Mamloo (Mawmluh), 21.08.1955, H. Deka s.n.; Mawphlang, 29.09.1972, T.M. Hynniewta 51834; Jowai, July 1952, G.K. Deka s.n.; Rytiang, near Garampani, 24.08.1968, N.P. Balakrishnan 47048; Balpakram, 14.09.1975, M.K.V. Rao 64082; Cherrapunjee, 12.07.1944, G.K. Deka 22187; Jowai-Bodarpur road, 22.07.1957, G.K. Deka 10124.

Habenaria malleifera Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 143. 1890.

Tall, stout herb. Leaves clustered large oblanceolate acute. Spike long, many-flowered, furfuraceous; dorsal sepal orbicular cucullate much smaller than the large deformed lateral, petals, very small, lip longer than the sepals tripartite to the base, segments filiform subequal or central longest, spur half as long as the long-beaked ovary, tip involute globose or clavate.

Flowering: August-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Mairang, Nunklow), Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Khasi hills, 28.07.1850 Hooker & Thomson 257 (K image!).

Habenaria marginata Colebr., Exot. Fl. t. 136 1824.

Tubers narrowly ellipsoid. Stem with 3-5 closely crowded sub-basal leaves. Leaves sessile, spreading, ovate to oblong, acute, with pale yellow margins. Flowers green and yellow; sepals green; dorsal broadly ovate, forming a hood with the petals; lateral sepals narrower, oblonglanceolate.; petals greenish, outer half yellow, triangular ovate, slightly falcate; labellum bright yellow, 3-lobed from basal part; mid-lobe linear, margins reflexed; spur equalling ovary in length.

Flowering: August-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Baghmara), Assam and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Baghmara, 03.09.1962, D.B. Deb 29138 (ASSAM).

Habenaria pantlingiana Kraenzl., Orchid. Gen. Sp. 1: 892. 1900.

Tuber 1, elongated. Leaves sessile, oblong or ovatelanceolate, acuminate, sheathing at base. Flowers greenishwhite; bracts lanceolate, acuminate, as long as or longer than the pedicelled ovary; sepals oblong-lanceolate, caudate, subequal; petals bipartite upto the base, segments filiform, recurved, equal; lip sessile at the base of column, as long as petals, 3-lobed; lobes filiform, arched, sub-equal; spur clavate, as long as the pedicelled ovary.

Flowering: July-September.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Mawsmai), Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Specimen examined: Mawsmai, 23.07.1983, K.M. Joseph 84011.

Note: Kataki (1986) reported as Habenaria stenopetala var. polytricha Hook.f. from Meghalaya.

Habenaria pectinata D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal. 24. 1825.

Tubers 2, unequal. Leaves sessile, lanceolate or ovatelanceolate, acuminate, 3-nerved. Flowers greenish-white; bracts lanceolate, acute, equalling the pedicelled ovary; sepals and petals sub-equal; sepals lanceolate, glabrous; petals linear-lanceolate, falcate, margin ciliate; lip 3-lobed; spur clavate, slightly shorter than the pedicelled ovary; sidelobes broader than the midlobe, fimbricate, midlobe linear.

Flowering: July-August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee, Dumpep, Laitlyngkot, Kalapani) and Arunachal Pradesh.

Specimen examined: Khasi hills, Kalapani, 26.06.1850 Hooker & Thomson 1251 (K image!); Khasi hills, W. Griffith 5307 (K image!).

Note: Kataki (1986) reported it as Habenaria ensifolia Lindl. from Meghalaya.

Habenaria reniformis (D. Don) Hook. f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 152. 1890. Listera reniformis D. Don, Prodr. Fl.Nepal. 28. 1825.

Tubers 2, unequal. Leaves basal sessile, usually 2, rarely 1, opposite, very variable, orbicular or oblong, obtuse, sheathing at base. Flowers greenish; bracts lanceolate, acute, much shorter than the pedicelled ovary; sepals ovate or ovate-lanceolate, acute, concave; petals entire, oblong-lanceolate, as long as sepals, but narrower; lip sessile, very variable, entire or partite, linear, slightly longer than the sepals; spur absent.

Flowering: August.

Distribution: Meghalaya (Shillong, Lower New Colony, Laban, Nungklaw) and Manipur.

Specimen examined: fide Kataki (1986) and Seidenfaden (1977).

Note: Recently in 2013, this plant was observed at Shella region during the field work (R. Kumar: pers. comm.)

Acknowledgements

Authors are grateful to Director, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata for facilities, to Dr. Ramesh Kumar, Scientist and Shri D.K. Roy BSI, ERC Shillong and Dr C.S. Rao, St. Anthony’s College for the help with few photographs; to the Forest Department of Meghalaya for rendering the logistic support during field exploration.

References

Hooker, J.D. 1890. Orchideae. In: Hooker, J.D. (Ed.) The Flora of British India, Vol. 5. L. Reeve & Co., London, pp. 667 – 858.

Joseph, J. and Rao, N.A. 1980. Peristylus richardianus Wt. and Liparis wrayii Hook. f. ?Two ground orchids new to North East India. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 22: 180 – 182.

Kataki, S.K. 1986. Orchids of Meghalaya. Government of Meghalaya, Shillong pp. 258.

Lucksom, S.Z. 2007. The Orchids of Sikkim and North East Himalaya: Development Area, Jiwan Thing Marg, Gangtok, East Sikkim, pp. 984.

Rao, N.A. 2007. Orchid flora of North East India – An up to date analysis. Bulletin of Arunachal Forest Research 23(1&2): 6 – 38.

Roy, D.K., Pandey, S. and Sinha, B.K. 2012. Notes on vulnerable Diplomeris pulchella D. Don (Orchidaceae) – a recollection from Meghalaya, India. Pleione 6(2): 409 – 411.

Seidenfaden, G. 1977. Orchid genera in Thailand V Orchidoideae. Dansk Botanisk Arkiv 31(3): 1 – 49.

Szlachetko D.L. 1995. Systema Orchidalium. Fragmenta Floristica et Geobotanica 3: 1 – 152.

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