About author :
Rajendra Yonzone, D. Lama, R. B. Bhujel
Department of Botany, St. Joseph’s College, W. B., India
Present paper deals taxonomic description with medicinal and ethnobotanical uses of Geodorum densiflorum (Lam.) Schltr. a terrestrial Orchid species in details. Common name in English is Ground Gem Orchid and synonym is Geodorum purpureum R. Br. Orchids are considered to be the most highly evolved in the floral specialization and diversified form of plants among the monocotyledons (Hajra and De, 2011). The genus Geodorum was described in 1811 by J. Jackson in Botanist’s Repository (Pearce and Cribb, 2002). From greek Geodorum means ‘gift from the ground’ (geo doron). It comprises about 10 species widely spread from India, through S.E. Asia to Australia and the Islands of S.W. Pacific. Intraspecific floral morphology and colour variation critically observed on this species in Darjeeling Himalaya (Yonzone et al. 2012).
Geodorum densiflorum (Lam.) Schltr. in Feddes Repert. Sp. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 4: 259. 1919. Plant terrestrial, 33-50cm tall. Pseudobulb subglobose, 2-4 x 3-3.6 cm, enclosed by scarious sheaths. Leaves 3-4, 10-32 x 4-9 cm, suberect, lanceolate, lanceolate-elliptic, or oblong-elliptic, acute to acuminate, petiolate, blade; petiole 5-22 cm long. Inflorescence shorter than the leaves, compact, subglobose, pendent, 10-15-flowered; peduncle 18-25 cm long, sheathed; rachis 3-5 cm long; pedicellate-ovary 0.8-1 cm long; floral bracts 0.7-1 x 0.16-0.2 cm, linear-lanceolate, acuminate. Flowers 0.9-1.2 cm long, white to pale green with yellow and purple markings. Sepals and petals similar, gaping, linear-oblong, oblanceolate-oblong to ovate-elliptic, acute to obtuse, 5 to 7 veined. Dorsal sepal 1-1.2 x 0.4-0.5 cm. lateral sepals 1.2-1.4 x 0.4-0.5 cm. Petals 1.1-1.3 x 0.5-0.6 cm. Lip 1-1.3 x 0.8-1.1 cm, boat shaped; base weakly saccate with lateral lobes folded over; apex obscurely 2-lobed, with rounded lobed, margins weakly undulate; disc with 2 or 3 wart-like, tubercular, ridged calluses. Column 3-4 mm long, weakly curved, with a foot. Anther orbicular; pollinia 2, broadly ovoid, yellow. Fruit pendent.
Key Words: Orchidaceae, Geodorum densiflorum, Medicinal and Ethnobotanical uses.
Habitat: Terrestrial, preferably grown on sandy loam, red lateritic to black soil in hilly terraces and slope (pH ranging from 3.6 to 4.6) at 930-1100m altitude. In habitat, it is preferably grown in barren field with Imperata cylindrica (L.)Reauschel.
Flowering and Fruiting: May – September.
Medicinal Uses: Dongaria tribes of the Niyamgiri hill region in South West Orissa, India used fresh root paste of Geodorum densiflorum mixed with 2 drops of ghee and 5 ml of honey and taken orally to regularize menstrual cycle in women (Dash et al. 2008 and Yonzone et al. 2011).
Ethnobotanical Uses: The species is called ‘shepherd’s crook’ by white Australians and fresh tuber used as food by the inhabitants of Australians. Gum obtained from root stock is employed for joining parts of musical instruments. Fresh root stocks crushed and rubbed on cattle to kill flies.
Altitudinal range: 600 – 1300 m
Place of Collection: Below Bong Busty – Relli river sides of Kalimpong Sub – Division of district Darjeeling from where the species were collected.
General distribution: North West and East Himalayas of India, Malaysia, S. China.
Present Availability Status in Darjeeling Himalaya: Rare, if it is considered natural population throughout Darjeeling but sparse in collected place. But possible to threatened in future because of many anthropogenic activities like implementation of developmental schemes, top layer soil erosion, cattle grazing, accumulation of pesticidal and herbicidal residues, frequent landslides, extension of agricultural lands cause greater harm to the natural population of this species. Therefore, habitat conservation is most necessary to safe this species in Darjeeling Himalaya. Local distribution within Darjeeling Himalaya: Bong Busty, Pudung, Sendaybong, Sittong,