The Dendrobium ovatum orchid is endemic to the Western Ghat region of Southern India and flowers in winter, from November to February. I was lucky to spot clumps of the epiphytic orchid in flower, growing on several old mango and jackfruit trees in Marna region of Siolim village.

The flowers are pale cream in colour with a greenish centre and have a faint fragrance. The plants are epiphytic and anchor onto old or mature trees but donot parasitise them; instead they absorb moisture and nutrients from the exterior of their host’s barks and also from the atmosphere through their specialised roots.

Though these orchids are not rare in their natural range, the steady felling of old trees for purposes like road widening are causing them to disappear from areas near human habitation. We can always plant new trees but it takes decades to recreate the entire ecosystem that a mature tree supports.

A little clump of Dendrobium ovatum orchids

A little clump of Dendrobium ovatum orchids