Rare Flowers on the Site

The Flowers of India site has now grown considerably since its birth in 2005, and so has the number of people associated with the site. Flowers of India community now involves many independent footloose flower-hunters, who travel to various parts of the country and capture the local flora in their cameras, which eventually gets added to the site. These flower-hunters come from various walks of life. They are enthusiastic trekkers who dare to go where few have ventured before. They are family-walas who turn their hill-station vacation into flower-hunting trips. They are houswives who get their taxis stopped in middle of nowhere because they spotted a flower on the roadside. They are students whose thirst for new things and adventure is never-quenching.

During such trips, occasionally these flower-hunters stumble upon flowers which are very rare, sometimes even assumed to be extinct, and sometimes in such unexplored areas that the flowers, although on record, have never been photographed before! On this page, we describe some such rare flowers which are part of the floral wealth of the site.

Woodrow's Crinum Lily: is a rare and critically endangered bulbous plant, which was thought to be extinct, but was rediscovered in 2004, after a gap of about 100 years! Dinesh Valke came across this plant growing wild near Vasai, Maharashtra. G. M. Woodrow first collected this species from Mahabaleshwar. Several bulbs of this were sent to Kew (England) supposing them to be Crinum brachynema, but when they flowered at Kew the plant proved to be a new species. Woodrow's Crinum Lily is endemic to Satara District, Mahabaleshwar and Kates Point in Maharashtra.

Law's Ceropegia: is a woody herb, named in honor of John Sutherland Law (1810–1885), Indian Civil Servant and amateur botanist. This species was first described scientifically in 1883 and not found again for a long time, until it was rediscovered in 1970 at Harishchandragad hill. This species is threatened with extinction. Navendu Pāgé found this plant in Kolhapur district of Maharshtra.

Long Flowered Spider Lily: is a rare herb, mostly found growing wild. Old books (Amaryllidaceae by William Herbert) mention that the only collected specimen was lost at Calcutta, and the bulbs were never brought to Europe for growing. The specimen in the picture was collected from the wild by Ravinder Singh and planted as a house-plant in a pot.

Siroi Lily: is surely the most beautiful of all lilies. Frank Kingdon-Ward came to Manipur with his wife (the daughter of a Bombay, high court judge) for botanical research, in 1946. He discovered this lily on top of the Siroi Hill in Ukhrul district of Manipur. It turned out that this is the only place in the world where it is found wild. The plant doesn't take transplantation well, and is threatened with extinction. Thingnam Girija photographed it on the Siroy Hill in 2007.

Striped Dewflower: a lovely purple flower with white stripes, measuring about 10-12 mm. This flower was last collected by botanist Barnes from Tambaram district and by Bourne from Tada, in 1899, and was believed to be extinct from India. Divya Umesh found this flower near Red Hills in Chennai, in 2010, after a gap of more than a century!

Magenta Ghost Flower: is a rare endemic parasitic plant, which was rediscovered in 2003, after 90 years in the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary at the Anamalais, near Pollachi. Prashant Awale stumbled upon this rare plant in Devikulum, Kerala, in 2006. The herb lacks chlorophyll and is parasitic on grasses. It is endemic to southern India, where it occurs only at an altitude of 900-1200 metres and was first discovered by Robert Wight in 1835.

Leafy Coneflower: is a rare plant found in NE India. JRI Wood, the botanist who is credited with describing and naming this species, believes that this picture by Prashant Awale is the first ever picture taken of the actually growing plant. Leafy Coneflower is relatively widespread but scattered, being known from isolated localities in Bhutan, the Naga Hills of NE India and the Chin Hills of Burma. This species Strobilanthes frondosa was first named only as recently as 1994.

Spotted Coneflower: is a rare plant found in Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Authoritative sources believe that this picture, taken by Prashant Awale from Mizoram, is the first ever picture of the actually growing plant. Previously this plant was probably called Ruellia maculata, which originated from the Khasi Hills and was cultivated in the Calcutta Botanic Garden, where it flowered in 1816. Apparently no specimen of the species was preserved. It is a gregarious species, growing and flowering "socially" on the southern slopes of the Khasi Hills (Meghalaya), the Lushai Hills (Mizoram) and the Naga Hills (Nagaland).

Mountain Balsam: is a beautiful wildflower that is believed to be native to China, Thailand and Vietnam, and has never been reported from India. However, Thingnam Sophia found it growing wild near a newly-discovered waterfall in Leimaraam, Manipur. Mountain Balsam is found along riversides, along canals in valleys and moist places, at altitudes of 900-1800 m.

Rebe: is a rare endangered medicinal plant, which was believed to be extinct, has been rediscovered after 115 years by a team of botanists in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Subansiri district. Rebe, last seen in 1890, was found growing in the wild in Upper Subansiri and Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh by Kumar Ambrish and M Amadudin, scientists of the Botanical Survey India (BSI). Known to local Adi and Tagin tribes as "Buckuchurbu" and "Rebe" respectively, the plant is used by them to treat stomach aches and dehydration.