It’s that time of the year when the spotlight is on the Tiger Orchids at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), Palode.
The orchid variety, native to South East Asia, is in bloom at the Palode institute. Grammatophyllum speciosum, popular as the ‘Tiger Orchid,’ is the largest orchid species in the world, JNTBGRI officials said. They are so called because of their splendid flowers which sport striking brown spots against a yellow backdrop, bringing to mind tigers.
This species is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
Flowering starts in June and lasts till August. This three-month period is also a time when orchid lovers flock to the institute to have a peek.
The huge size of this orchid in the natural habitat produces five cm-thick stems that grow up to three metres in length. ‘‘The plant was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s tallest orchid, with specimens recorded up to 7.62 metres in height,’‘ the institute said.
The inflorescence, standing three metres high, can have 80-100 flowers each.
After 8-12 years of growth, Grammatophyllum speciosum produces flowers in alternate years in its natural habitat.