Graceful Petalless Orchid
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Graceful Petalless Orchid
P Native Photo: Jambey Tsering
Common name: Graceful Petalless Orchid
Botanical name: Apetalanthe gracilis    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Graceful Petalless Orchid is a terrestrial or rock-dwelling orchid, generally hairless. Stem arising from tuber, rising up, oblique or erect, 4-8 cm tall, 1-1.2 mm in diameter, with fine longitudinal papillulose ribs, at base bearing 3- 4 tubular white or light greenish bracts 3-12 mm long and 1.4-1.8 mm wide (when flattened), at middle with 1 nearly erect or horizontally recurved stem leaf. Leaf is stalkless, narrowly lanceshaped, often slightly curved, uniformly grassy green, 2.5-3 cm long, 3-4 mm wide, tapering from wide base to blunt tip. Flowers are borne at branch-ends in lax somewhat one-sided spike with 2-3 flowers; flower-cluster-stalk grassy green, 2-2.2 cm long. Floral bracts leaf-like, narrowly to broadly lanceshaped, 1.2-1.5 cm long, 3-4 mm wide. Flowers are distant with 6-8 mm between them on axis, stalkless, inverted, widely opening, white with lip bearing 7 longitudinal purple stripes along veins and at spur base, about 8 mm across. Median sepal is erect, 3-veined, broadly ovoid, boat-shaped, 3- 3.2 mm long, 3.8-4 mm wide, obscurely 4-toothed and hood-like at tip, embracing column. Lateral sepals are reflexed or recurved, 1-veined, obliquely narrowly obovate, 4-4.2 mm long, 2 mm wide, blunt to rounded at tip. Petals are absent during flowering. Lip horizontal to downwards directed, 7-veined, spurred, broadly obovate, almost flat, 6-6.5 mm long, 5.8-6.2 mm wide, 3-lobed at tip; lobes broadly triangular, 1-1.2 mm long, 2-2.2 mm wide; spur at right angle to lip, horizontal or upward directed, narrowly cylindrical- conical, straight to slightly curved upwards, blunt, as long as ovary, 6.5-7 mm long, 1.5-1.8 mm broad at base. Fruit is a spindle-shaped capsule. Graceful Petalless Orchid is found in NE India and Vietnam, at altitudes of 2000-3000 m. Flowering: June-July.

Identification credit: Jambey Tsering Photographed in Tawang distt., Arunachal Pradesh.

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