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A modest orchid (Eulophia andamanensis) in our monsoon woodland

May 3, 2013

The Dokmai Garden monsoon woodland hosts many of the Orchid Ark’s terrestrial orchids. I have previously reported Geodorum recurvum flowers, and can add that a total of ten such individuals have been recorded, one flower still remains although the first was sighted two months ago. Another exquisite orchid of this fire-free monsoon woodland displays its flowers right now, Eulophia andamanensis (Orchidaceae):

Eulophia andamanensis.May2.2013.72

The flowers’ colours coincide so much with the surrounding leaf litter one might wonder if this is a camouflage. I think it is not a camouflage, but colours are redundant in this case, where morphology and possibly scent (undetectable to humans) attracts its pollinator. Bees and beetles are known pollinators of African and South American Eulophia. Some Eulophia mimic other flowers to lure pollinators, but that can not be the case in this species.

This species is often mislabeled Eulophia graminea, another native orchid with large green pseudobulbs. That species has pink colours in the centre of its lip, and blooms much earlier. Although native to India and Southeast Asia, E. graminea has become naturalized in Florida. Judging from seed pods we have that species in our monsoon woodland too.

Lindley’s name ‘Eulophia‘ is derived from ‘eu’ and ‘lephos’ meaning ‘beautiful plume’, alluding to the lip. The name ‘andamanensis’ seems to restrict it to the Andaman Sea, but E. andamanensis grows widely in deciduous forests all over Southeast Asia. We hope it will thrive and reproduce within our monsoon woodland.

While writing this blog at 11.15 p.m on Thursday, massive lightning and thunder is seen to the west. Ketsanee just told me about a destructive hail storm in Samoeng, so rainy season seems near. Precipitation report: we got 8 mm of rain around midnight, the bulk of which on the May 3 side.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

One Comment leave one →
  1. David Fielder permalink
    May 3, 2013 10:17 AM

    Absolutely magnificent Eric!
    It’s still at least 5 weeks away before we’ll see our first orchids of the season. The winter has been long with the last of the snow disappearing this weekend.

    My regards to Ketsanee and your family – David

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