Why is it in News?
A Conservator of forests has discovered ‘Lecanorchis taiwaniana’ in Assam, which is the smallest orchid in terms of size and duration of bloom to be recorded ever botanically.
About the Discovery:
- Precise identification of the ‘Lecanorchis’ species is often difficult due to short duration of flowering periods and close similarities in morphology.
- The new species appeared close to the nigricans species while bearing 90% resemblance with the taiwaniana species named after Taiwan.
- Detailed morphological study revealed that this unknown species can be considered as Lecanorchis taiwaniana.
- The discovery of Lecanorchis taiwaniana has added to the orchid wealth of northeast India, which has 800 of some 1,300 species in the country. Nearly 300 species are found in the Western Ghats and 200 in the northwestern Himalayas.
- Lecanorchis are terrestrial, leafless myco-heterotrophs (formerly called saprophytes).
- They contains over 30 species distributed across a large geographic range that includes China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, New Guinea, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- The orchid, discovered earlier in Japan, Taiwan, and Laos, was found to have a maximum height of 40 cm and a blossoming period of five-six days.
- They produce numerous, long, thick, horizontal roots under a short rhizome and bear dull brown, purple, yellow or green flowers with a somewhat brighter lip which is covered with dense, yellow hair.