Indian Vanilla Creeper
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Indian Vanilla Creeper
P Native Photo: M. Sulaiman
Common name: Indian Vanilla Creeper
Botanical name: Vanilla walkeriae    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Vanilla walkerae

Indian Vanilla Creeper is a terrestrial climbing orchid, which appears to be a leafless tree-dwelling orchid. It climbs by means of aerial roots; stems thick, round, deeply channelled. Leaves are arrested, 1.2-3.7 cm long, lanceshaped, tapering. Flowers are white, 6.8 cm across, in very stout, many-flowered, 13-15 cm long racemes. Floral leaves are 8 x 5 mm, broadly ovate, somewhat pointed, 5-7-veined. Sepals are 4.5 x 1.6-1.7 cm, broadly inverted-lanceshaped, somewhat pointed, 13-15-veined. Petals are as long as sepals, 2.8 cm broad, spoon-shapedly obovate, 15-veined, margins wavy. Lip is erect, 3.7-4.3 x 2.4 cm, obovate-oblong, wavy, rounded toothed, inserted at the base of the column, embracing and fusing with it by a convolute claw and dilating into a trumpet-shaped limb with recurved margins, lateral lobes absent, tip triangular, pointed; disc with 2 broad, papillate ridges from the base to beyond the middle; column long, narrow, 1.7 cm long, 2.5 mm broad. Fruit is a very slender capsule, 12.5-15 cm long. Indian Vanilla Creeper is found in South India and Sri Lanka. Flowering: December-August.

Identification credit: M. Sulaiman Photographed in Ulioor, Mettupalayam, Tamil Nadu.

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