Thwaites Vanda
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Thwaites Vanda
P Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Thwaites Vanda
Botanical name: Vanda thwaitesii    Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Thwaites Vanda is an orchid found growing on trees. It was believed to be extinct, and has only recently been rediscovered. It is named after British naturalist George Henry Kendrick Thwaites (1812-1882) who had been in Ceylon for 31 long years. Stem is stout, woody, up to 25 cm high, covered with leaf base. Leaves are 12-15 x 1.5-2 cm, strap-shaped, recurved, unequally notched at tip. Flowers are greyish-green, 4 x 3.5 cm, in 9-10 cm long leaf-opposed racemes; dorsal sepal is 21 x 11 mm, obovate, blunt, margins wavy, 7-veined; lateral sepals 23 x 13 mm, elliptic, subpointed, blunt, margins wavy, 9-veined; petals 21 x 11 mm, obovate, blunt, margins wavy, 7-veined; lip 20 x 18-20 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes 9 x 2-2.5 mm, oblong, lanceshaped, pointed, curved downwards; midlobe 15 x 13 mm, fleshy, broadly ovate, flat at tip; lobules blunt; medianly grooved; 2 bilobed calli at the mouth of the spur; spur 10 x 4-6 mm, conical, inflated, keeled, rounded. Thwaites Vanda was originally reported from Sri Lanka where it is now believed to be extinct. In India, it is found in the Western Ghats in Kerala and Karnataka at elevations of about 800-1000 m.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in the Malayatoor Reserve Forest, Kerala.

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