Medusa Habenaria
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Medusa Habenaria
P Introduced Photo: Kalyan Brata Santra
Common name: Medusa Habenaria
Botanical name: Habenaria medusa    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Pecteilis medusa, Fimbrorchis medusa

Medusa Habenaria is a medium sized, terrestrial orchid with 4 to 5, lanceshaped, pointed, somewhat heart-shaped basally, leaves. Flowers are borne in a raceme at the top, up to about 30 cm long, bearing 7-10 or more flowers. Flowers are about 9 cm across. White petals united at the base of the dorsal sepal, linear with blunt tip, about 6 mm long and 1 mm broad. Trilobed lip, 2-2.5 cm long and 3.5-4 cm broad, with the lateral lobes deeply divided in 36-40 thread-like segments, radially arranged, inspiring comparison with Medusa in Greek mythology, the lady with snakes as hairs.The linear median lobe is 0.5 cm long, and thread-like spur at the base 2.5-3.5 cm long. The tuber that has vegetated dies by the end of the summer after having produced new tubers for the successive cycle. Medusa Habenaria is native to Malesia, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Kalyan Brata Santra Photographed in Kaziranga Orchid Garden, Assam.

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