Orchids of Kerala

The 252 species, 3 subspecies and a solitary variety of orchids belonging to 79 genera known to occur in Kerala India.

Kerala, a state located in the southwestern part of India, is known for its rich biodiversity and lush green landscapes. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including numerous species of orchids. Orchids are highly prized for their vibrant colors, unique shapes, and exquisite beauty. Here are some notable orchids found in Kerala:

  1. Vanda tessellata: Also known as the Blue Vanda or the King’s Orchid, Vanda tessellata is the state flower of Kerala. It features large, fragrant blue-violet flowers and is commonly found in the Western Ghats region of Kerala.
  2. Dendrobium: The genus Dendrobium is represented by several species in Kerala. These orchids display a diverse range of colors and forms, including white, purple, pink, and yellow. Some popular Dendrobium species found in Kerala are Dendrobium aqueum, Dendrobium gibsonii, and Dendrobium crepidatum.
  3. Bulbophyllum: Kerala is home to various species of Bulbophyllum orchids. These orchids are known for their peculiar and often fascinating flower structures. One such example is Bulbophyllum echinolabium, which features a large, hairy, and highly fragrant flower.
  4. Cymbidium: Cymbidium orchids are known for their long-lasting flowers and attractive color patterns. In Kerala, you can find species like Cymbidium aloifolium, which has tall inflorescences bearing yellow and maroon flowers.
  5. Coelogyne: Kerala is also home to several Coelogyne species, which are highly valued for their elegant and fragrant flowers. Coelogyne ovalis, Coelogyne nitida, and Coelogyne cristata are some examples found in the region.
  6. Phalaenopsis: Phalaenopsis orchids, often referred to as “Moth Orchids,” are popular for their large, showy flowers. They are commonly cultivated as houseplants and can be found in Kerala’s nurseries and gardens.

These are just a few examples of the many orchid species that can be found in Kerala. The state’s diverse climate, ranging from coastal regions to the highlands of the Western Ghats, provides favorable conditions for orchids to thrive. Orchid enthusiasts and nature lovers can explore various national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and botanical gardens in Kerala to witness the beauty of these exquisite flowers in their natural habitat.

SpeciesStatusLocalityFlowering seasonFlower size (cm)
Acanthephippium bicolorrareAgasthyamalai, Munnar, Silent Valley, WayanadMarch-April (yellowishbrown)3-3.5
Aerides crispumrareMunnar, Silent Valley, WayanadMay-June (pinkishwhite)2.0
Aerides maculosumrareAgasthyamalai, Silent ValleyMay-June (pinkish violet)2.0
Anoectochilus elatusrareSilent ValleyDecember-February (pink & white)1.5
Arundina graminifoliararePonmudi,Silent Valley, AgasthyamalaiApril-May (pink)3.5 – 4.0
Calanthe rnasucanot commonAgasthyamalai, Silent Valley, MunnarThroughout the year(white or pink)2.5 – 4.5
C. triplicatarareMunnarMay-July (white)2.5
Coelogyne mossiaerareMunnarAugust-September (white & brown)3.5
Cymbidium ensifoliumcommonAgasthyamalai,Silent Valley45
Dendrobium heterocarpumrareAgasthyamalai, Silent Valley, MunnarDecember-February (yellowish brown)3.0
Dendrobium aqueumrareSilent Valley, WayanadApril – May (white)3.0
Dendrobium jerdonianumrareThirunelli, CoorgMarch-April (yellow)2.0
Eulophia culleniirareKallarFebruary-April (yellow)4.0
Habenaria barnesiivery rareMunnarAugust-September,(greenish yellow)2.0
Paphiopedilum druryiendangeredAgasthyamalaiJanuary-March (yellow)4.0
Vanda spathulatarareKollencodeJuly-August (yellow)5.0

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