The flowering ‘tigers’

July 10, 2020 06:38 pm | Updated 06:38 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Tiger Orchid in bloom at JNTBGRI.

Tiger Orchid in bloom at JNTBGRI.

The ‘Tigers’ are in full bloom at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), but given the COVID-19 scenario, the public may not get an opportunity to view them this time.

Tiger orchids (Grammatophyllum speciosum), so called for their large and resplendent flowers which resemble the tiger skin, flowers in alternate years. “These epiphytic plants are not native to India. They, in fact, are endemic to southeast Asia. Specimens were introduced at the JNTBGRI in the 1990s,” says R. Prakash Kumar, director, JNTBGRI.

Even the JNTBGRI has only a handful of these orchids that are found in southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. The orchids will remain in bloom for about a month, Mr. Prakash Kumar says.

Normally, visitors would flock to JNTBGRI to view these orchids when they are in bloom, but this year, predictably, the institute is not encouraging visitors on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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