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Know all about the Land of Orchids - Sikkim

Sikkim is one of the smallest and least populated states of India. Sikkim is renowned for its orchids all around the world. There are more than 500 species of Orchid in Sikkim. The National Research Centre for Orchids was established in the year 1996 at Sikkim. NRCC is working towards better production and commercialization of orchids in the state.

Chintu Das

Sikkim is a state located in the northeastern region of India. Sikkim shares its borders with Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. Sikkim is one of the least populated states of India and has an incredibly diversified range of flowers and animals. The state is located at an inclination range between 400 to 5000 meters above sea level and has an overall hilly terrain nearly covering the entire region.  

Sikkim has several tropical zones and its geography consists of mountains, hills, glaciers and a whole lot of forest covering more than 80%. of the total land area in the region. Sikkim is located in one of the ecoregions of India. 

Sikkim has several thousands of floral species thriving in the state and also a home to more than 500 species of orchids. Royal orchid is the official flower of Sikkim.  

Zones and Orchids 

The orchid habitation found in Sikkim can be divided into 4 zones in accordance with the prevailing climate in these zones. 

- Tropical Zone 

The main characteristic of this zone is its dense forests. The temperature in this region ranges between 18 degree to 25 degrees. The rainfall received in this region is under 3000 mm. Also the humidity levels are at its peak i.e. nearly 100%. Some of the famous breeds of orchid found in this region include Callicarpa, Acamperigida, Cymbidium aloiflolium etc. among many others.  

- Sub-tropical Zone 

The elevation ranges between 1100 to 2000 mtrs. In comparision to tropical zones, this zone is cooler and ranges between 20 degrees to 30 degrees. The trees are not tall and has a bushy appearance. Some of the orchids include Podochiluskhasianum, Coelogyneelata, Cheirostylis moniliformis, Calanthe puberula etc. 

- Temperate Zone: 

This zone is characterized by a cold environment and accommodates heavy rainfall throughout the year. The temperature range is below 20 degrees. Occasional snowfall is also observed in this zone. The higher altitudes in this zone are covered with conifer trees. Some of the species of orchid include Liparis perpusilla, Neottialisteroides, N. pantlingii, Bulbophyllumreptans among many others. 


- Alpine Zone: 

This zone is covered in snow for almost half of the year and has very less rainfall. The region is exposed to stones, boulders and has a very limited lining of soil for vegetation to grow. The elevation is the maximum for this zone and ranges between 3500 to 5000 mtrs. The orchids growing in this zone are at the ground level and famous ones include Rhododendron setosum, Didicieacunninghamii, Aorchisspathulata etc.   

National Research Centre for Orchids   

NRCC was established in Sikkim in the year 1996 with the main motive of improving the productivity and quality of orchids in the region, and also to increase the commercial value of orchids. NRCC played a major part in providing training to the orchid farmers on its production and commercialization. On 18th of January, 2016, Sikkim was declared an organic state by the prime minister Narendra Modi, which further reinforced the ongoing schemes and plans prevailing in the state. 

Today, the emphasis is on advancement of attractive assortments/mixtures, sub-atomic characterisation, normalization of agro-methods, post-collect administration, creation of value planting materials through tissue culture and production of vault of data identified with all parts of orchids.   

Bottom line: 

Sikkim is recognised as the “paradise of orchids”in India and is well known throughout the world. With current plans and programmes induced for the betterment of the orchids in the state, we can surely hope for a better future for the orchids of Sikkim. 

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