Lawn Orchid
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Lawn Orchid
ative Photo: Pankaj Kumar
Common name: Lawn orchid, Soldier's Orchid
Botanical name: Zeuxine strateumatica     Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Orchis strateumatica, Zeuxine sulcata, Adenostylis strateumatica

The Lawn orchid is native to Asia from China to the tip of India including Southeast Asia and adjacent islands. Linnaeus originally named the plant Orchis strateumatica in 1753, taken from the Greek strateuma meaning a band, company, or army. Schlecter moved it to genus Zeuxine in 1911. It blooms on a terminal, 1.5-4.5 cm long, densly 2 to many flowered, cylindrical rachis with lanceolate, acuminate, papery, reddish brown bracts occuring in the winter and early spring. The flowers are very tiny. Soldier's orchid is a 'here-now, gone-tomorrow' orchid. It emerges in winter, blooming in late December and January; within a few weeks, the plants vanish. Soldier's orchids have a charm not visible to the casual viewer. The glistening mass of little white flowers with their protruding lips turn from orange to yellow as they age. When viewed through a strong magnifying glass, the lip appears to be composed entirely of a microscopic mass of sparkling beads.

Identification credit: Pankaj Kumar Photographed in Jharkhand & Howrah, West Bengal.

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