A note on Diploprora championii (Lindl. ex Benth.) Hook. f. (Orchidaceae) - an interesting orchid from Karnataka, India
A.N. Sringeswara ¹ & Sahana Vishwanath ²
¹ Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560065, India.
² Tree Improvement and Propagation Division, Institute of Wood Science and Technology, 18th Cross Malleswaram, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560003, India.
Email: ¹ firstname.lastname@example.org (corresponding author), 2 email@example.com
During the floristic exploration in and around Sringeri Taluk (Fig. 1) of Chikmagalur District, adjacent to Kudremukh National Park, an interesting orchid species was collected. After the critical examination of the specimens, it has been identified as Diploprora championii (Image 1). The lip of this species is peculiar in being semi-cymbiform with its long forked setiform tip resembling the tongue of snake (see arrow in the Image 1). The voucher specimen has been deposited at the Herbarium, Botanical Garden, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bengaluru (Coll. No. ANS 187; Acc. No. 3806) (Image 2).
This species was first described in 1855 by George Bentham as Cottonia championii, from specimens collected from Hong Kong. J.D. Hooker (1890) gives the distribution of this species from Bhutan Himalaya, Khasi Mountains, Tennasserim, Ceylon and Hong Kong. Jayaweera (1981), gives its distribution from the Himalayan region, Khasia Hills and Sikkim in India and from Burma and China. Rao (1996) reported this as new record for Arunachal Pradesh. Recent compilation of orchids of Eastern Ghats by Reddy et al. (2005) report the occurrence of this species form Mayurbhanj District of Orissa. Saldanha (Saldanha & Nicolson 1976) reported this species from Hassan District, Karnataka and it forms the first report to southern India. The species has been reported from Andaman Islands and Banasuranmala in Wayanad District of Kerala (Rao 1982; Kumar & Manilal 1994, 2004). Recent compilation on orchids of Karnataka by Rao & Sridhar (2007) refers to the SaldanhaÕs collections only, as they have not collected this species. Our collection is second report of this species in Karnataka after a gap of 35 years.
Diploprora championii (Lindl. ex Benth.) Hook. f.
Fl. Brit. India. 6(1): 26. 1890 (as championi); Hook.f., Icon. Pl. 22: t. 2120. 1892; King & Pantl. in Ann. R. Bot. Gard. Calc. 8: t. 2120. 1898; Saldanha & Nicolson, Fl. Hassan 824. 1976; Liu & Su, Fl. Taiwan 5: 975. 1978. Cottonia championii Lindl. ex Benth. in HookerÕs J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 7: 35. 1855 Luisia bicaudata Thw., Enum., Pl. Zeyl. 302. 1861. D. bicaudata (Thw.) Schltr., Fedde Rep. Beih. 4: 281, in obs. 1919.
Pendulous epiphytes, roots long, vermiform. Stems non-pseudobulbous, leafy, 5-35 cm long; internodes 0.5-2 cm long, surrounded by persistent leaf sheaths. Leaves sessile, twisted, falcate or linear-oblong, 8-12 cm long, ca. 2cm wide, apex acute or sometimes unequally 2-lobed; sheath tubular, oblique at mouth. Racemes 5-8 cm long, zigzag, leaf-opposed, bracts scale-like, 2mm long. Flowers 3-5, pale yellow, ca. 1.5cm in diam. Sepals oblong or oblong-oblanceolate, 7-9 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, obtuse or rounded at apex. Petals linear-oblong, 8mm long, 2-3 mm wide, rounded at apex, 5-veined. Lip white or pale yellow, sometimes with yellowish or brownish stripes or hues, semi-cymbiform with a process at the extremity ending in two setiform forks. Anther terminal, 2-loculed, beaked, pollinia globose, bipartite, appressed to the flat inner surface. Ovary with pedicel 8mm long. Fruit a capsule, linear-fusiform, 4-5 cm long, 6-ribbed.
Flowering and fruiting: March to June (flowering was observed even during late August in the plants collected and growing in authorÕs residence).
Habit and habitat: Growing on branches of small trees overhanging in thicket (disturbed by frequent cutting of the plant into bushes for manure dominated by Memcylon and Hopea species) and semi-evergreen forests.
In the present investigation, we found that this species grows predominantly on Memecylon umbellatum trees in semi-evergreen forests and thickets in Sringeri Taluk. The leaves of this species have resemblance to the leaves of Pothas scandens. The fast disappearing thickets in Malnad region poses serious threat to its existence and sustainability in the region. It needs immediate attention for conserving this rare species.
Hooker, J.D. (1890). Flora of British India - Vol. 6. L. Reeve & Co., London, 224pp.
Jayaweera, D.M.A. (1981). Orchidaceae, pp. 263–266. In: Dassanayake, M.D. & F.R. Fosberg (eds.). A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon, Vol. 2. Amerind Publishing Co., New Delhi, 511pp.
Kumar, C.S. & K.S. Manilal (1994). A Catalogue of Indian Orchids. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun, 162pp.
Kumar, C.S. & K.S. Manilal (2004). Orchids of Kerala, India, pp. 155-237. In: Manilal, K.S. & C. Sathish Kumar (eds). Orchid Memoirs – A tribute to Gunnar Seidenfaden. Mentor Books, Calicut, xiii+256 pp.+plates, figs, tables.
Rao, M.K.V. (1982). Additions to the Orchidaceae of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Bulletin of Botanical Survey of India 22: 212-213 (1980 publ. 1982).
Rao, N.A. (1996). Five new records of orchids from Arunachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 20(3): 707-709.
Rao, T.A. & S. Sridhar (2007). Wild Orchids in Karnataka – A Pictorial Compendium. Institute of Natural Resources, Conservation, Education, Research and Training (INCERT), Bangalore, xiv+152pp.+80 colour plates.
Reddy, C.S., C. Pattanaik, M.S.R. Murthy & K.N. Reddy (2005). Orchids of Eastern Ghats, India. EPTRI-ENVIS News Letter 11(4): 6-12.
Saldanha, C.J. & D.H. Nicolson (1976). Flora of Hassan District, India. Amerind Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, viii+915pp.