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Luisia Trichoriza - Hairy Root Orchid
Luisia trichorhiza is a unique looking orchid. The stems and the leaves are thin needle-like and green in colour. This orchid is an epiphyte growing in tropical as well as temperate climatic zones. It can be seen growing as a lithophyte (growing on rocks) also.
Regional Distribution: Luisia trichorhiza is found growing throughout South and South East Asia, New Guinea. It also occurs in the Pacific Islands of Fiji and Samoa as well as Australia.
Local names: Koira in Orissa (India).
Physical description: Luisia has an erect and climbing stem, which is terete in chararter (that is thin needle like). Leaves are also terete and look similar to the stem. Flowers are small, about 1 cm. Single flowers appear simultaneously at several points along the stem. Aerial stem arise from the lower nodes.
1. Watering: It requires frequent watering because Luisia does not have any water storage organs. It does give out aerial roots but these do not store much water.
2. Light: It grows in exposed conditions in the natural habitats, so it can be grown out in open or in direct sun. If your region does not have high humidity, then keep a container filled with water near it to maintain congenial the microclimate around the orchid. Or you can place a humidifier which ever is convenient.
3. Temperature: It grows well in warm temperatures.
4. Fertilization: Use fertilizers which are meant for orchids. Before fertilizing read the instructions carefully and apply as instructed.
5. Propagation techniques: it can be grown in baskets or tree log, using coconut husk, moss, tree fern etc. can be used as growth medium. Both coconut- husk chunks and husk fibers can be used. Luisia can also be grown in pots, where the growth medium can be charcoal pieces, tree bark which gets dry faster than the coconut husk or moss.
6. Pest and diseases: Careful and frequent monitoring of the orchids is the best method to control pests and diseases. This way pests and diseases can be controlled easily before causing and extensive damage to the orchids. With an added benefit to the environment by reduced use of chemicals
Uses other than ornamental:
1. In India, it is used as a local medicine for curing Jaundice. For that whole plant is dried and crushed to make a paste, which has to be consumed orally with water on empty stomach. It is also used to treat diarrhea in cattle.
2. A paste of leaves of Luisia is used as external application to relieve muscular pain in Nepal.
1. Dash, P.K. et.al. 2008. Ethnobotanical studies on orchids of Niyamgiri Hill ranges, Orissa, India. Ethnobot. Leafl. 12: 70 -78.
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