Jeypore Rainforest

Flora

The Jeypore Reserve Forest is one of the most important forests of Assam in terms of orchid diversity. So far, 101 species of orchids within 45 genera have been recorded here. Of these, 79 are epiphytic, 21 are terrestrial and 1 species is a saprophyte. Eight of the species found here are critically endangered, 15 species are endangered, 5 species are near threatened and 28 species are in the vulnerable category. Jeypore Rainforest has the distinction of several new orchid records for the region. Thrixspermum acuminatissimum is a new record to India; 9 species Bulbophylum ebulbum, Chrysoglossum erraticum, C. robinsonii, Eria connate, E. pudica, Hetaeria affinis, Thelasis pygmaea, Taeniophyllum crepidiforme and Zeuxine clandestine are new records from Assam; and 12 species Anoectochilus brevilabris, Bulbophyllum protractum, B. spathulatum, Calanthe lyroglossa, Ceratostylis sabulata, Cleisostoma discolor, Podochilus khasianus, Tainia minor, T. waryana, Thelasis longifolia, Trichotosia velutina, and Tylostylis discolour are new records from Upper Assam. It is important to focus conservation on species like Acanthephippium striatum, Anoectochilus brevilabris, Bulbophyllum spathulatum, Cymbidium bicolour, C. dayanum, Dendrobium nobile, Eria paniculatum, Gastrochilus calceolaris, Phalanopsis manni, P. parishii and Zeuxine clandestine that are already very rare in Jeypore. Depending on the sunlight, temperature and other microhabitat requirements, orchids grow in different layers of the Jeypore rainforest. Light-loving orchids like Acampe papillosa, A. rigida and Dendrobium acinaciforme grow well at the top storey upto 20-30 meter height. Species such as Aerides odoratum, Bulbophyllum affine, Cleisostoma appendiculatum and Coelogyne ovalis grow in the middle story; while shade-preferring species like Bulbophyllum delitescens, Cymbidium bicolor, and Dendrobium aduncum grow best in the lower stories of the forest. Occasionally, one may chance upon terrestrial orchids that grow in the diffused sunlight of the dense forest floor of Jeypore

Orchids are literally the jewels of the forest. They lend a beauty and charm of its own to the landscape due to their bewildering variety of flowers, many showy and colourful and exquisitely beautiful and fragrant. They are also used in medicine, and are important parts of the culture of many societies, including the Assamese. Orchids are also important ecological indicators, disappearing rapidly when the quality of soil and air of the region degrades. Mainly shade loving, they have no chance of survival, once forests are cleared. Add to that unregulated illegal collection for trade, and orchids are under dire threat. There are 24,500 species of orchids in the world under 788 genera, very widely distributed across the globe. In India orchids are represented by 1331 species under 184 genera. They show maximum diversity in the Eastern Himalaya with North-East India, having nearly 70 % of the Indian species, being an orchid hotspot. Assam is believed to have around 193 species of orchids in 71 genera, of which 27 are endemics.