L C De
National Research Centre for Orchids, India
L. C. De has completed his PhD in the age of 27 years from IARI, Pusa, New Delhi. Presently, he is a Principal Scientist presently working in NRC for Orchids, Pakyong, Sikkim. He has published 58 research papers and written 9 books on horticulture and floriculture, 25 book chapters, 15 technical bulletins, 58 research abstracts, 32 popular articles, 20 technical reports and 7 training manuals. He is awarded HSI Gold Medal in Floriculture during 2011. He is a member of several scientific societies, Ninional Level Committees and referee of reputed journals.
Orchids comprise the largest family of flowering plants with 25,000 to 35,000 species belonging to 600-800 genera and covers 10% of the flowering plants.. They are prized for their incredible diversity in the size, shape and colour and attractiveness of their flowers and high keeping qualities even up to 10 weeks. Indian species of Aerides, Bulbophyllum, Calanthe, Coelogyne, Cymbidium, Paphiopedilum, Rhyncostylis, Renanthera and Vanda are used as breeding materials as well as pot plants. They are adapted to diversified climate grown both epiphytically and terrestrially. Orchids respond organically with locally available resources. Many orchids can be grown on rocks and logs for placing in the landscape. A beautiful colour scheme can be developed with Cymbidium and Dendrobium orchids. Orchid hybrids of Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Vanda, Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Cattleya, Paphiopedilum, Mokara, Aranda, Renantanda etc. with different colour and forms are highly remunerative and used as cut flowers, floral display and as exhibits.
Tribal people of North -Eastern Hill Region of India use wild orchids for a variety of folk medicine as orchids are rich in alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, carbohydrates and other phytochemicals. Fragrant orchids like Aerides multiflorum, Aerides odoratum, Cattleya maxima, Coelogyne cristata, Coelogyne ochracea, Dendrobium chrysotoxum, Lycaste, Oncidium sphaceolatum, Rhyncostylis retusa and Zygopetalum intermedium are delightful in outdoor living areas. Leaves, tubers and pseudobulbs of different species are used for edible purposes. Vanilla- a major spice crop and source of vanillin comes from Vanilla planifolia. Anoectochilus leaves are used as vegetables in Indonesia and Malayasia. Pseudobulbs of Cymbidium maladimum and Dendrobium speciosum and tubers of Microtis uniflora and Caladenia carnea eaten. Miniature cymbidiums can be used as value added packed items. Bright flowers of orchid genera like Dendrobium, Cymbidium, Paphiopedilum Cattleya, Pholidota etc. are beautiful items for drying.
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