Centipede Hairseed Orchid
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Centipede Hairseed Orchid
P Native Photo: Syed Parvez
Common name: Centipede Hairseed Orchid, Spider Hairseed Orchid
Botanical name: Thrixspermum centipeda    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Dendrocolla arachnites, Vanda pauciflora, Thrixspermum arachnites

Centipede Hairseed Orchid is a miniature sized orchid growing on trees or rocks, with erect, elliptic in cross-section, stem which roots along the length. The plant carries thick, fleshy, oblong leaves which are unequally bilobed at the tip. The plant blooms in the spring on a pendant, strongly flattened towards the tip inflorescence with 2 ranked rows of persistent floral bracts from which arise nicely fragrant flowers that last 2 to 3 days. Flowers are white or creamy yellow, turning yellow later, not opening widely, thickly textured; flower-stalk and ovary white, about 7 mm. The flowers look like spiders, and the array of bracts look like a centepedes, thus inspiring the species name. Sepals are narrowly curved-lanceshaped, 3-4.5 x 0.3-0.5 cm, long tapering; lateral sepals slightly wider at base. Petals are narrowly curved-lanceshaped, slightly smaller than sepals; lip shallowly sac-like at base, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, nearly ovate, 2-3 mm, blunt; mid-lobe spreading, about 5 mm, thickly fleshy, conduplicate and narrowly conic in outline, blunt; disk with a central callus. Column is 1.5-2 mm, stout, foot very short. Centipede Hairseed Orchid is found in forests, at altitudes of 100-1300 m, in NE India, China and SE Asia. Flowering: June-October.

Identification credit: Pankaj Kumar Photographed in Kaziranga Orchid & Biodiversity park, Assam.

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