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Rhynchostylis retusa


Rhynchostylis retusa (also called foxtail orchid) is an exotic blooming orchid, belonging to the Vanda alliance. The inflorescence is a pendant raceme, consisting of more than 100 pink-spotted white flowers. The plant has a short, stout, creeping stem carrying up to 12, curved, fleshy, deeply channeled, keeled, retuse apically leaves and blooms on an axillary pendant to Template:Convert long, racemose, densely flowered, cylindrical inflorescence that occurs in the winter and early spring. It is famous for its use as an hair-ornament worn by Assamese women during folk dance Bihu on the onset of spring.<ref name=ob/>


Close-up of the individual flowers forming the inflorescence of Rhynchostylis retusa

The plant is an epiphyte growing on tree trunks in open forests or at forest margins at elevations of Template:Convert. It can be found in Bhutan, Cambodia, China (Guizhou, Yunnan), India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.<ref name=FoC>Template:Cite web</ref>

In India, the plant is most common in North-East, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, the plant is called by Telugu name Chintaranamu. Due to bio-piracy,Template:Citation needed the plant is on the verge of extinction in India. Rhychostylis retusa is recognized as the state flower of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India as well the Uva Province of Sri Lanka.

Rhynchostylis retusa, an Orchid species of frequent occurrence in Assam


The plant requires regular watering and applications of fertilizer throughout the year,<ref name=ob/> although it will die if the leaves are wet frequently.Template:Citation needed It prefers indirect lighting. Flowering usually occurs in late spring.<ref name=os>(1998-01-20). "Rhynchostylis page". Orchid Species.com. Retrieved on 2013-03-18.</ref>

Medicinal uses

In Malabar District various preparations of the plant were used against asthma and tuberculosis and for 'nervous twitchings' (referable possibly to tic disorder), cramp, epileptic spasms, vertigo, palpitations, kidney stone and menstrual disorder. The plant has also been used in Assam to treat wounds, cuts and bruises. The plant has been used as an emollient in India and Nepal. Under the name of rasna the root is used to treat rheumatism throughout the Indian subcontinent.<ref>Orchid Biology: Reviews and Perspectives, III ed. Arditti,Joseph,pub.Comstock Publishing Associates - a division of Cornell University Press 1984 Template:ISBN (v.1) : Chapter 2 : Ethnobotany of the Orchidaceae by Lawler,Leonard J. page 101</ref>

Significance in Assamese culture

In Assam, it is popularly known as কপৌ ফুল (Kopou Ful), and is an integral part of a Bihu dancer's attire. The plant is considered to be a symbol of love, fertility and merriment and, for this reason, the inflorescence forms an essential element in the traditional Assamese marriage ceremony. Such is its beauty, usefulness and broad cultural significance in the state, that this spectacular wildflower is also grown as a much-loved garden plant by almost all Assamese families and has justly been adopted as the state flower of Assam.

See also



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