As we continue into spring there is a marked increase in the flowering of orchid species that coincides with the later end of the dry season in many tropical habitats north of the equator, including those we have visited in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Laos. Many of the species from these habitats time their flowering for the end of the dry season as it optimises pollination success by avoiding flowers being damaged by heavy rains, and optimises seed pod success by timing seed pod growth in the forthcoming wet season.
Amongst the species who adopt this strategy are many of the Eria species we have seen in Sikkim and Laos such as Eria paniculata (below) and today’s Eria amica.
Eria is a wonderfully diverse genus and Eria amica comes from a group of species with stout pseudobulbs that topped with several leathery leaves and multi-flowered spikes produced from the pseudobulb nodes. The flowers are really attractive with bright red stripes on a cream ground and a yellow mid-lobe to the lip and a lovely fragrance.
Eria amica is found across the Himalayas and South East Asia and we have come across the species in Sikkim and Loas. The species copes with a range of conditions from warm lowland forest at 600m up to cool evergreen forests at 2000m but all these habitats experience a warm wet summer and cooler dryer winters. Plants are small to medium sized and better behaved than many Eria species in cultivation in having a short rhizome and so staying in their pots rather than climbing across benches and into other plant’s pots.