Ian Lockwood


Palni Hills visit… ever so briefly

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Paphiopedilium Druryi

Paphiopedilium druryi

Snapshots from a fleeting visit to the Palni Hillss in April:

(Above) This ladyslipper orchid (Paphiopedilium druryi) is arguably one of the rarest flowers in the Western Ghats. It is an amazing example of intriguing biogeography, since it is isolated from other members of the genus by 2,000 km or so  of land and sea! I trekked all over Agasthyamalai looking for it on three occasions. Here it is in bloom finally! Refer to S. Theodore Baskaran’s Hindu article for an excellent description of the orchid’s discovery and natural history.

Ambassador under the shadow of the Palnis

Ambassador under the shadow of the Palnis


(Above) Gaur (Bos gaurus) have taken up residence in the township of Kodaikanal. A herd of eight or these  large bovines has been living within the township (in Bombay Shola) for several months now! This contrasts sharply with the 1980s when we considered ourselves fortunate to see them in the outer Palni hills and there were whispers of occasional poaching.

These sorts of warning signs have now become a common sight in Kodai! The presence of gaur in Bombay Shola, as well as that of endemic birds and plants is  another good reason to better protect this amazing patch of forest that is becoming an ecological island amidst bungalows and new developments.

Written by ianlockwood

2009-05-26 at 5:03 pm

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  1. I was fascinated to read about the lost orchid! Was this a solitary plant, or were there many in its vicinity?

    Good to hear about the gaur as well.


    2009-05-28 at 4:22 am

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