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The pink wool orchid

September 26, 2011

In yesterday’s blog I showed the pseudobulbs of a wool orchid (Eria sp.). Today the flowers were developed enough to be photographed. Hendrik Jacobs kindly identified it as Eria dasypus (Orchidaceae).  ‘Eria’ is a Latinized form of Greek ‘erion’ meaning wool. ‘Dasypus’ means shaggy foot. In this case the ‘foot’ is the flower stem (pedicel). Since this orchid indeed is hairy, a feature shared with many other Eria (cf. Eria tomentosa and Eria pannea), and since it is pink without any brightly yellow as in some other species (sepals and petals may become greenish yellow), I propose the English name ‘pink wool orchid’. An older English name is ‘hairy eria’, but since genus affinity changes frequently I think it is wise to avoid scientific names in the vernacular name. After all, the whole point with using English names is to lower the threshold for a beginner. More eyes are needed in the woods. Repeating the scientific name fills no purpose.

This is a common species at about 1000 m elevation in northern Thailand and Burma. It is currently in blossom at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai where it is a part of the Orchid Ark.

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