Elwes Toothed-Lip Orchid
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Elwes Toothed-Lip Orchid
P Native Photo: Jambey Tsering
Common name: Elwes Toothed-Lip Orchid
Botanical name: Odontochilus elwesii    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Anoectochilus elwesii, Cystopus elwesii, Odontochilus purpureus

Elwes Toothed-Lip Orchid is a miniature to small sized, terrestrial orchid with stout, hairless, decumbent at the base stems carrying 4-7, ovate, pointed, 3 veined, hyaline margined, brown leaves, expanded at the stalked base. It is named for Henry John Elwes, 19th century British plant collector, author and naturalist. The plant blooms in the summer on an erect, 6-10 cm long, raceme, glandular-velvet-hairy, 2-3 flowered, with distant, lanceshaped, tapering sheaths and ovate, much shorter than the ovary, floral bracts. Flowers are upside down, ovary and flower-stalk twisted, cylindric-spindle-shaped, about 1.3 cm, velvet-hairy. Sepals are green or white, tinged purplish red toward tip, outer surface velvet-hairy, 1-veined; dorsal sepal forming a hood with petals, with 2 broad purplish red stripes, ovate, boat-shaped, about 7 x 4 mm, tip tapering; lateral sepals ovate, oblique, about 10 x 6 mm, saccate at base. Petals are white, ovate, strongly oblique, sickle shaped, about 7 x 4 mm, 1-veined, tip tapering. Lip is white, Y-shaped, about 1.5 cm; hypochile slightly dilated, shallowly bisaccate, about 3.5 mm, containing a central longitudinal septum and 1 fleshy, almost square callus on either side; mesochile dark purple, 5-7 mm, with a fringed flange along either margin; flanges composed of 4 or 5 filaments; epichile transversely dilated, about 1.2 x 1.4 cm, 2-lobed; lobes diverging widely, nearly oblong, about 10 x 5 mm, margin slightly wavy, tip flat. Elwes Toothed-Lip Orchid is found in Bhutan, NE India, N Myanmar, Thailand, N Vietnam, China, at altitudes of 300-1500 m. Flowering: July-August.

Identification credit: Jambey Tsering Photographed in Sessa, West Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh.

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