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|Author:||LankaLibrary [ Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:00 am ]|
Vanaraja is a rare orchid of medicinal value. It is a small ground orchid with creeping stems and prominent stalked membranous leaves. The dark muddy-green leaves have orange reticulations and are pale beneath. Its flowers are white in colour and are about 1.5cm broad, appearing several times a year.
Vanaraja thrives in a dark and humid climate and is found in sub-tropical forests in the mid and low country. In Sri Lanka it is mainly found in relatively undisturbed forests in the wet zone.
This orchid shows a range of fine variabilities of leaf colour and its patterns of venation. Similarly, it has many other local names used in different areas viz. Hiruraja, Sandaraja, Garundaraja, Gururaja and Guruluraja. Vanaraja is used in the treatment of snakebite.
This species is considered nationally threatened (IUCN,1999 List of Threatened Fauna and Flora). The loss of habitat is the main threat faced by this ground orchid. As Vanaraja does not grow in open areas, the continuing destruction and fragmentation of wet zone forests in Sri Lanka threatens the future survival of this rare orchid.
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