In the floral drama, it is the orchids who are prima donnas. Sikkim’s orchids are of two categories epiphytes and terrestrial. The epiphytes are better known. And include the famous Dendobrium genus. The dazzling Dendobrium hookerianas, with their rich purple spots compete for top spot with pouch shaped Calceolaria whose wardrobe favors’ white, pink and yellow.
The Cristata species of the Coelogyne genus, on the other hand spurns showy display. It goes for the virginal look, with snow white flowers and languidly drapes itself over tree steams and rocks. With jungle stripes and pouting lips, the Arachanthe cathcarti has attitude written over its fleshy large flowers. It chooses the moist warm tropical forests to display its chocolate stripes and hinged lips.
The Orchidarium outside Gangtok presents several stunning species.