The Botanical Survey of India has published Orchids of India: A Pictorial Guide- the
first comprehensive census of orchids of India.
According to the publication, the total number
of orchid species endemic to India is 388.
757 (60%) of all orchids found in India are
epiphytic, 447 are terrestrial and 43 are mycoheterotrophic.
The Himalayas, North-East parts of India and
Western Ghats are the hot-spots of orchids.
The highest number of orchid species is recorded
from Arunachal Pradesh followed by Sikkim and West Bengal. The Western Ghats
have high endemism of orchids.
Among the bio geographic zones of India, the
Himalayan zone is the richest in terms of orchid species followed by Northeast,
Western Ghats, Deccan plateau and Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Orchids have unique shape and ornamentation and
have complex floral structure that facilitates biotic cross-pollination
Orchids are broadly categorised into three life
forms: a) epiphytic (plants growing on another plants including those growing
on rock boulders and often termed lithophyte), b) terrestrial (plants growing
on land and climbers) and c) mycoheterotrophic (plants which derive nutrients
from mycorrhizal fungi that are attached to the roots of a vascular plant).
The entire orchid family is listed under
appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora) and hence any trade of wild orchid is banned globally.