Blue Vanda
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Blue Vanda
ative Photo: Vijay Anand Ismavel
Common name: Blue Vanda, Autumn lady's tresses orchid, • Manipuri: ꯀ꯭ꯋꯥꯛ ꯂꯩ Kwak lei • Mizo: Lawhlei, Lawhlêng • Sanskrit: वन्दारः Vandara, वन्दाका Vandaka
Botanical name: Vanda coerulea    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

One of the most popular asiatic orchids, Vandas are very demanded by its big, blue/purple, long lived flowers. Blue orchid is native to NE India where it grows at elevations ranging from 2500 to 4000 feet in the Himalayan foothills. Botanist William Griffith’s description of this unusual blue-flowered species in 1847 sparked much excitement amongst orchid enthusiasts and hybridizers, who were eager to add this rare plant to their collections. The resulting unsustainable collection of plants for commercial markets led to rapid decimation of wild populations. In order to protect remaining wild populations, intact habitat is being protected and restrictions on international trade of Vanda coerulea have been enacted. The name "Vanda" is derived from the Sanskrit name for the species Vanda tessellata. Vanda coerulea is one of the few botanical orchids with blue flowers (actually a very bluish purple; there are no truly blue orchids), a property much appreciated for producing interspecific and intergeneric hybrids. Some have flat, typically broad, ovoid leaves (strap-leaves), while others have cylindrical (terete), fleshy leaves and are adapted to dry periods. The stems of these orchids vary considerably in size; there are miniature plants and plants with a length of several meters.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Dimapur, Nagaland, Mizoram & Manipur.

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