Showy Moth Orchid
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Showy Moth Orchid
P Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Showy Moth Orchid
Botanical name: Phalaenopsis pulcherrima    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Synonyms: Doritis pulcherrima, Phalaenopsis esmeralda, Phalaenopsis antennifera

Showy Moth Orchid is a hot to warm growing orchid growing on rocks and in sandy soils with a short, leafy stem, carrying inverted-lanceshaped to narrowly elliptic, blunt to somewhat pointed leaves, 5-7.5 × 1.5-2 cm. Flowers are borne in a simple, erect, up 3 ft tall inflorescence carrying many flowers. About ten flowers may be open at time. The flower spike becomes longer as the bloom season lenghtens. Flowers are often fragrant, opening widely, usually with pink sepals and petals and purple lip; flower-stalk and ovary 1.3-2 cm. Dorsal sepal is oblong, about 8 x 5 mm, blunt; lateral sepals slightly oblique, ovate-triangular, about 8 × 7 mm. Petals are nearly obovate, slightly smaller than dorsal sepal; lip attached at a right angle to end of column foot, 3-lobed, recurved. Column is about 7 mm, foot about 6 mm. Showy Moth Orchid is found in the Eastern Himalayas, NE India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, at elevations of 100-1300 m in evergreen, lowland forests along canyons of montain streams and rivers in bright humid environments.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Vijaya Gardens, Palakkad, Kerala.

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