India is home to 1,256 species of orchid, says first comprehensive survey

  1. The Botanical Survey of India has published Orchids of India: A Pictorial Guide- the first comprehensive census of orchids of India.
  2. According to the publication, the total number of orchid species endemic to India is 388.
  3. 757 (60%) of all orchids found in India are epiphytic, 447 are terrestrial and 43 are mycoheterotrophic.
  4. The Himalayas, North-East parts of India and Western Ghats are the hot-spots of orchids.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. Orchids have unique shape and ornamentation and have complex floral structure that facilitates biotic cross-pollination
  8. 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).
  9. 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.