Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 January 2018 | 10(1): 11231–11233






Record of the endemic orchid Biermannia jainiana (Asparagales: Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae) from its type locality, India

Krishna Chowlu 1 & Jeewan Singh Jalal 2

1 Botanical Survey of India, Arunachal Pradesh Regional Centre, Sanki Valley, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh 791113, India

2 Botanical Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, 7, Koregaon Road, Koregaon Road, Pune, Maharashtra 411001, India

1 (corresponding author), 2








The northeastern region of India has been recognised as a ‘mega diversity’ area for flora. This region has about 876 orchid species in 151 genera, which constitutes nearly 70% of the total orchid flora of our country (Medhi & Chakrabarti 2009). A large number of them have ornamental value and are threatened. The orchid species in this region are fast declining due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, over-exploitation, global warming and ‘jhum’ (slash and burn) cultivation. The conservation of wild orchids in their natural habitats have become a matter of global concern. Keeping the importance of orchids in mind the Arunachal Pradesh government has created a Sessa Orchid Sanctuary 25km away from Orchid Research and Development Centre (ORDC) at Tipi. In the recent survey the author (KC) noticed an interesting orchid species named Biermannia jainiana S.N. Hegde & A.N. Rao from Kameng. The generic name Biermannia is based on Adolph Biermann, who was a curator of the Calcutta Botanical Garden. Genus is represented by 10 species distributed in China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Four species viz., Biermannia arunachalensis A.N. Rao., B. bimaculata (King & Pantl.) King & Pantl., B. jainiana Hegde & A.N. Rao., B. quinquecallosa King & Pantl. occur in India.

Arunachal Pradesh, the northeastern most state of India, is a part of northeastern Himalaya and is considered as one of the biodiversity rich areas of the country. Out of 1,350 species of orchids recorded from India, about 560 species are reported from Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh may be botanically termed as an ‘orchid paradise’ because of the maximum concentration of orchid species (about 40% of the country) in the state when compared to other states of the country (Rao 2010). Biermannia jainiana is an endemic orchid species and known only from its type locality, i.e., from a single locality (Fig. 1). Little information is available on its habitat and population status. In addition the author (KC), for the first time, captured colour photographs of this species. The present paper highlights the detailed description, phenology, habitat and conservation status of this species supported by photographs.

Biermannia jainiana

S.N. Hegde & A.N. Rao, Bull. Bot. Surv. India 26: 97 (1984 publ. 1985); H.J. Chowdhery, Orchids Fl. Arunachal Pradesh 78, f.34. 1998 (Images 1, 2).

Type: Hegde 4192 (Orchid Herbarium Tipi, Arunachal Pradesh).

Stem 4–7 × 0.5–1.0 cm, decurved, with many dense roots. Leaves 6.0–15.0 × 1.2–2.5 cm, up to 8 in number, sheathing at base, oblong or oblong lanceolate, acute, unequally bilobed at apex, undulate at margins. Inflorescence 2–6 racemes, leaf opposite, 2.0–6.0 cm long, short and held beneath the leaves, 3–6-flowered; rachis club˗shaped, terete, with 2 or 3 short sterile bracts at intervals of 1.0–1.5 cm, groove at the axils. Flowers white, non resupinate, restricted to the distal thickened portion of the rachis, not widely opening; perianth lobes distinctly apiculate c. 1.5cm across the lateral sepals and c. 0.9cm across the lip and odd sepals. Bracts shorter than the ovary, 2.0 × 1.0–1.5 mm, oblong, acute. Sepals 7.0–9.0 × 4.5–5.0 mm, elliptic˗oblong, concave, 5-nerved, white with base pale yellow. Petals 5.5–7.0 × 3.0–3.5 mm, elliptic oblong, obtuse, 3-nerved, minutely falcate. Lip 5.5–7.0 × 3.0–4.0 mm, white with brown hairs inside, parallel to the column, fleshy, entire, with narrow erect subundulate lateral margins, truncate and thickened at apex into a cubic apicule, with sparse short papillae on the apicule; disc concave with many brownish ciliae within. Column c. 3.5×2.0 mm, short, stout; foot c. 3.0mm long, with a knob˗like erect median callus at the tip. Anther 2-celled; anther cap broadly ovate, shortly beaked over the rostellum. Pollinia 2, ovoid.

Flowering and fruiting: March‒April.

Habitat & Ecology: This is an epiphytic species found growing on large tree trunks (Schima wallichi and Toona ciliata) in dense moist subtropical evergreen forests at an elevation of 1,100m. The dominating plant species of the region include Schima wallichi, Toona ciliata and Castanopsis. The associated orchids found with Biermannia are Dendrobium sp., Flickingeria sp., etc.

Distribution: India (Arunachal Pradesh). Endemic.

Conservation status: The first report of this species in Arunachal Pradesh is from West Kameng. Till date this species is confined only to a single location. The area of occupancy is less than 10km2. In the present survey about 12 mature individuals were recorded from this location. It was observed that the present location is facing threats due to illicit felling of its host trees. Based on the IUCN (2017) Red Listing criteria, the species is potentially Critically Endangered [D]; however, further field surveys are recommended for the species.






Chowdhery, H.J. (1987). Orchid flora of Arunachal Pradesh. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun, 78pp.

Hegde, S.N. & A.N. Rao (1984). Biermannia jainiana Hedge et Rao - a new species of orchid from Arunachal Pradesh. Bulletin of Botanical Survey of India 26: 97–99.

IUCN (2017). Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 3.1. Second Edition. [accessed on 06December 2017]

Medhi, R.P. & S. Chakrabarti (2009). Traditional Knowledge of NE people on conservation of wild orchids. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 8(1): 11–16.

Rao, A.N. (2010). Orchid flora of Arunachal Pradesh- an update. Bulletin of Arunachal Forest Research 26(1 &2): 82–110.