SPECIALLY COLOURED

Am always amazed  as to how Insignificant Buds transform into the most Stunning  Blossoms.

Equally amazing are the names we give these lovely creations of Nature.

Commonly called Day Lily of which the Orange variety ( Tiger Lily) is well known and can be seen at florists as well.

Buds
INCONSPICUOUS BUDS

These Day Lilies (English), Hemerocallis hybrid ( Scientific Name)  are however not really True Lilies as they belong to the family Asphodelaceae and not Liliaceae.

They are Native to the Himalayan Region and parts of Asia.

The Hybrid varieties in Red have fancy names like Red Rum and Razzmatazz but yet do not match the splendour and colour of the blooms in these pictures.

Quite the story of the Ugly Ducklings transforming into Swans.( see the buds and compare them to the Lovely blooms below)

red lillies
SPECTACULAR BLOSSOMS

As with things of Wonderous beauty  they come with a caveat, these gorgeous blooms Live for But One Day .

As I say in my title ” Specially Coloured”.

 

CHERRIES nay BERRIES

These Dark Green Shrubs were hiding a Cheerful Wonder revealed only by their Cherry Red Tubular Blossoms.

bushes
DENSE FOLIAGE HIDES THE “CHERRIES”

A Bunch of Joy glistens in the Himalayan Hillside at Gangtok, Sikkim.

The Red Cestrum ( English), Cestrum “newellii” ( Scientific Name) belongs to the Night Shade Family, Solanaceae.

tubular flowers
SCARLET CLUSTER

These Cherry Like Fruits turn into a Lovely Wine Red Hue on Maturity.( do compare the picture below to the featured image).

However as is characteristic of the Night Shade Family , every part of the plant is poisonous. Thus stay away from the these “Cherries” if you know what is best for your well being.

mature
MATURE BERRIES

The Marvels of Nature never cease to Enchant.

FLORAL “AVATARS”

What all do these unusual  Flowers remind you of ?

For me numerous Science Fiction movies flash by as I gaze at these Wonderous Flowers.

The Trailing Tails with a small Light like Bulb at the end reminds me of movies like Star Wars, Aliens and ” Avatar “.

The  Lovely Buds looking like little Squids or Plants from the Imaginary Planet Pandora from the Movie “Avatar”.

buds
Budding Squid

Native to the Americas they are called “Crimson Star”.

However I spotted them at The Company Bagh ( Gardens) in Mussoorie, Uttrakhand, India at an altitude of 6000 feet ( 2000 metres approx.) in the Western Himalayas.

The Scientific name is Aquilegia caerulea . 

These Bicoloured Flowers look spectacular and extremely unusual from every angle that you view them.

flying squid
Jelly Fish or Squid ?

Observe the Whitish Fur on the Alien Tails.

furry tales
Furry Tails

Not difficult to figure out why these Dramatic blooms are called “Crimson Star”.

the flower
Spellbinding

In the initial posting over a hundred readers liked this post. Am now filling in the blanks and providing some information on these Crimson Avatars.

They also have blue family members much like the Natives of Planet Pandora called “Blue Colorado Columbine”.

FRAGRANT OPULENCE

The Fragrance of these Grand Blossoms casts a TO DIE FOR Spell over the Magnolia Gardens in Kasmanda Palace, Mussoorie, Uttrakhand, India.

The picture below gives a glimpse into the Life of these Gorgeous Opulent Beauties from Bud to Fruit.

buds all over
Grand Blooms

The Grand Goblet shaped Snow White Blossoms of  Magnolia (English), Him Champa ( Hindi), Magnolia grandiflora (Scientific Name) entrenched among shiny leathery thrones of leaves is a Sight to Behold.

cup of fragrance
CUP OF FRAGRANCE

When open they reveal an Enchanting Fragrance which is overpowering.

The names attributed in the Local Language Hindi ( Him Champa) is interesting as Him means Snow and Fragrant flowers are usually called Champa.

The Scientific name of this Species of Magnolias which is Native to South East USA is a tribute the Opulent Flowers, namely  “grandiflora

fallen pollen
POLLEN ABUNDANCE

As the  Grand Flowers age they turn Brown ( unlike us who turn Grey) and reveal the first look of an Ovoid Fruit in the Centre which will ultimately bear Stunning Red Seeds.

Do you spot the Himalayan Cedar or Deodar  in the backdrop? ( Do read  a previous blog titled EXPOSED ON A LIMB for more on DEODARS)

sunset
SUNSET YEARS

Some of the trees in this location are over 100 years Old. How I crave for a  whiff of these Enchanting Fragrant Magnolias  as I pen this blog.

Am addicted to the FRAGRANT OPULENCE of the Him Champa.

BRAZILIAN FLAME

I have seen the Flame of the Forest ,( do check out previous Blogs Titled FLAME OF THE FOREST and AFRICAN FLAME OF THE FOREST to see and know more) and a look alike the Indian Coral Tree ( Scientific Name Erythrina variegata) ,  setting Forests on Fire with their Bright Colourful Flowers.

However these  amazingly Flamboyant Flowers simply took my breath away, they are simply on another spellbinding level.

This lovely  Brazilian Coral Tree was photographed at the amazing Ecofriendly Vishranti Resort tucked away in the fertile Doon Valley,Uttrakhand, India.

flowers on tree
BRAZILIAN CORAL TREE

I have never seen such amazing Coral flowers . Forests in Brazil ( country of Origin) must be awash with these beauties.

The Erythrina crista-galli ( Scientific name is known by numerous names like the Fireman’s Cap Tree, Cock’s Comb Coral tree and Cry Baby Tree. I leave it your imagination and the pictures below to imagine why?

New Green Leaves and  nascent buds have a brush of Coral hinting at the Splendour to follow.

raw buds
BABY BUDS

The Green Buds convert to these lovely Coral Parrot Beak like Mature Buds grouped together in clusters, each  held on coloured gentle stems ( called petioles) .

 The Buds are very similar to other Flowers of the Genus Erythrina. Do have a look at the Posts mentioned before.

buds
Beautiful Parrot Beak Buds 

The  Cockspur Coral Tree adorns probably one of the most striking of all blossoms in the Genus Erythrina. This rarely seen import from Brazil is seldom seen in India.

It belongs to the Pea or Legume Family , Fabaceae and is a fixer of Nitrogen in the soil as well.

I try to identify and post the family as it plays a critical part in identifying the Species

floral cluster
Profuse Cluster of Coral Blossoms

Is it a wonder that these beautiful Blossoms are the National Flowers of both Argentina and Uruguay.

incredible flowers
AMAZING CORAL BLOSSOMS

Stunned by these Flaming Blossoms from Brazil ?

I was Enchanted to learn that The Indian Coral tree and The Brazilian Coral tree had so much in common and even belonged to the same Genus and family.

 

 

 

 

QUEEN OF ORCHIDS

These Gorgeous Cattleya Orchids where photographed at THE HIDDEN FOREST, Gangtok, Sikkim.

They are also called the Queen of Orchids and are native to distant Costa Rica.

Text book cattleya
Gorgeous Orchids in Hues of Purple

The Lower Lip forms a lovely pout, have a look. Three petals and two sepals ( lower two) make up the Queen of Orchids.

close up
The Queen displaying all the Regal Curves

The Featured image is of a flower from this lovely potted Orchid which fortunately had the name tag saving me hours of research hunting for the species.

the complete plant
Blc Rungnabha Fancy Orchid Plant

Do check out a previous blog titled SLIPPER”Y” ORCHIDS to compare Orchids from different families.

I loved the Enchanting World of Orchids in Sikkim, India. Do you too?

 

 

SLIPPER”Y” ORCHIDS

The Himalayan State of Sikkim, India  is undoubtedly the place to visit if you are mesmerized by Orchids.

The pictures  that follow are of Enchanting Orchids wearing a “Slipper”, but like Cinderalla only a single slipper.

The featured image and the picture that follows are of a Species of Orchid, Native to North East India. The scientific name is Slippery and a tongue twister as well Paphiopedilum hirsuttissimum.

These gorgeous Orchids were seen at the touristic but lovely Flower Centre, Gangtok, Sikkim.

( my friend and blogger (” themishmash” ) Priyanka was coincidentally and unknowingly there during the same time and has lovely pictures of a vast range of flowers besides Orchids as well)

slipperis close up
Lady Slipper Orchids

I have learnt these Orchids are  classified as “Symbodial”  Orchids and the Pitcher Like  or Lady Slipper LikePouch is designed to ensure nectar seeking Insects Pollinate the beautiful flowers.

The two pictures that follow were taken in a Treasure trove of Orchids not known to many ( especially my dear friend Priyanka) called the “Hidden Forest” in Gangtok itself.

The Labellum or Pouch clearly reveal they are from the  genus Paphiopedilum subfamily Cypripedioideae and family Orchidaceae.

However I have no idea what species they are, but I  am guessing  they are cultivars or Hybrid Orchids. ( the Owl has closed his eyes and is most unhelpful as well)

pitcher orchid
A Lemon Green Lady Slipper

Another species or a mature version of the above, am clueless. However both looked wonderful in the Dining Room at THE HIDDEN FOREST homestay in Gangtok.

I am taking a wide swing it as it resembles the Paphiopedilum superbiens.

pitcher orchid two
Another Colour of a Lady Slipper

Orchids are spellbinding , mystical and somewhat Alien looking , are they not? The Venus Slipper Orchids even more so   than other ( as the name suggests) family members of The Orchid Family.

ENORMOUS TRUMPETS

It is virtually impossible to miss these Magnificent and Large Trumpet Like Flowers in the  Rain fed areas of the Lower Himalayas from Uttrakhand till  Sikkim , India.

A Large Woody Shrub covered with Large Pendulous Blooms in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India  compelled me to stop the  car to have a closer look.

They were called “Dhatura”  by a Local Gardener and that gave me the first clue to research the name of these beautiful Golden Blossoms.

trumpet tree
The Tree of Golden Trumpets

“Dhatura” is steeped in Hindu Mythology as a source of Narcotic Drugs associated with Lord Shiva.

However ,the characteristic Drooping Blossoms  in fact revealed them to be Angel’s Trumpets ( English), Brugmansia suaveolens ( Scientific name)  a confusing close relative of the Genus Datura but not quite the same. Both belong to the Nightshade family Solanaceae and thus rich sources of  poisonous alkaloids.

large yellow bells
Gigantic Yellow Blossoms

The Angel’s Trumpets can be seen in various colours like White and Pink as well.

Their Seed Pods are long resembling a Lady Finger unlike the seed pod of the infamous Datura which has spiny oval  pods . While the Flowers are very similar on first glance, those of the  Datura look up like vases and are called Devil’s Trumpet.

yellow twirls
Drooping Blossoms thus Angel’s Trumpets

Brazil is the origin of the Angel’s Trumpets, but they are now Naturalized and fairly widespread in India.

These lovely enchanting blossoms carry  toxic alkaloids which create hallucinations and other ailments and all parts of the plant are poisonous.

The  Floral Twirls make my head a bit dizzy just by looking or is it just my hyperactive imagination at play ?

the flower

Inside the Trumpet

Is it not Enchanting to know that the Angel’s Trumpet and Devil’s Trumpet belong to the same family  ?

SCARLETT ROBES

If you have ever been to a Buddhist Monastery you may have observed Monks in Crimson or Maroon Robes.

I was blessed with a Wonderful Sight of a Row of  Crimson Skyscrapers of Hollyhocks (English),Gulkhaira (Hindi) ,Alcea rosea ( Scientific Name) at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India.

red and white
DUAL PLEASURE WITH WHITE ROSES

Hollyhocks or Alceas come in an assortment of colours , however these gorgeous Crimson or Scarlett blossoms were simply awesome as they lined the path leading to the Wonderful Rumtek Monastery.

Alcea is derived from the Greek word Althea which means “To Cure” and that is exactly what these eye candies do. They have numerous Medical applications and cure many  a ailment.

hollyhocks

CRIMSON SPLENDOUR

Alceas or hollyhocks grow on extremely tall Single stems which have no branches . The Entire Stem is covered with a Cascade of Large Glorious Blossoms.

These beauties belong to The Hibiscus family ” Malvacae”.

double holly hock
DOUBLE HOLLYHOCK

The Enchanting  Crimson Colour seems to have rubbed off from the Signature Maroon Robes of the Monks of the Monastery or is the other way around ?  Who Knows???

I leave you with an Image of a young Monk to Judge for yourself.

a pensive monk
A Young Monk in Crimson Robes

HIMALAYAN HOTSPOT

Travel to see the Magic of Nature and you will be overwhelmed by the treasures that await to be discovered across  Planet Earth.

The Himalayas are one of the several abodes of these  Natural Treasures.

The Rhododendrons are a unique and varied species of trees and bushes/bushlets , many of which are now critically endangered.

The Natural Habitat of the Rhododendrons is the Himalayas and one of the Hotspots is the tiny state of Sikkim in North East India.

the tree
Behold the Rhododendron Tree

The Local Name from Nepal to Sikkim/North Bengal is Lali ( meaning Red) Gurans .

The Scientific Name of the species in the pictures is Rhododendron arboreum Smith  and it belongs to the family Ericaceae.

In some Himalyan States like Uttrakhand you get a lovely squash derived from the Red Blossoms of this High Altitude Species.

the crown
The Crown with Red Ruby coloured Blossoms

The Leaves of the Rhododendrons are unique as they form a spiral like  Crown as seen in the picture below.

While the Local name is derived from the species bearing  Red Blossoms seen below, the wonderous Rhododendrons exhibit various colours from White, Pink and even Yellow.

the flowers and spiral
Awesome Blossoms

Watch out for more blogs as the Enchanting World of Rhododendrons is revealed in  Himalyan Hotspots at altitudes over 13000 feet.

The pictures seen above were taken in North Bengal , close to the border with Sikkim and Bhutan.