Crown Wand Orchid
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Crown Wand Orchid
P Native Photo: Amber Srivastava
Common name: Crown Wand Orchid
Botanical name: Paphiopedilum fairrieanum    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Cypripedium fairrieanum, Cypripedium assamicum

Crown Wand Orchid is a dwarf species of orchid, found growing on the ground in clumps or on trees. It is named for R. Fairrie, who first exhibited the plant before the RHS in 1857. It blooms from late autumn through spring with a 10 cm wide flower. The leaves are dull green and strap-shaped with no markings. The flowers are born atop a long, weakly velvet-hairy stalk with a single, medium sized flower, looking like a wand with a crown. Flowers have broad, white dorsal sepal that is finely penciled and suffused with purple; petals deflexed and ruffled at margins, lined in purple; lip urn-shaped, tan, flecked with rust colored dots, microscopically velvet-hairy. Synsepal smaller than dorsal sepal, milk-colored, stripe. This species occurs in Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan and Sikkim, at altitudes of 1300-2200 m. It occurs as a humus epiphyte on limestone cliffs in the oak forest near water and on grassy slopes. The area is subjected to heavy rain in the summer and fall.

Identification credit: Amber Srivastava Photographed at Botanical Survey of India, Shillong.

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