Vanilla wightii Lindl. ex Wight 1845 Photo by © Enchanting Kerala Website

Common Name Wight's Vanilla [English Surgeon and Orchid Collector in Asia, later director of Madras Botanical Garden in India 1800's]

Flower Size

Found in southern India and Sri Lanka as a large to giant sized terrestrial-epiphyte.

"This species has been confused in the literature. The type collections at K consist of different, separated fragments on three sheets, some fragments seem to be referable to Wight’s concept of V. wightii, and others to V. walkeriae. Vanilla wightii is closely related to V. aphylla, while V. walkeriae is a member of the V. madagascariensis group. In V. wightii the inflorescences are short, with about 3 flowers, the lip has two rows of hairs from the base to the sides of the crest, which is like a large penicillate callus continuous with an apical strip of hairs. A fragment in each one of the isotypes at K shows an elongate inflorescence, with a thick fruit and many protuberant scars, lacking bracts, typical of V. walkeriae, in which the bracts are deciduous. Seidenfaden (1983) illustrated a specimen of V. walkeriae with narrow segments, but lacking the hirsute lip apex characteristic of the V. aphylla complex. Pradhan (1976) also illustrated V. walkeriae rather than the true V. wightii. A good illustration of V. wightii can be found in Abraham and Vatsala (1981). Although both species are leafless, V. wightii and V. walkeriae belong to different lineages of the genus. Vanilla walkeriae resembles closely V. roscheri and its close allies, in having large, white flowers." Soto Arenas & Cribb 2010


References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Indian Orchids: Guide to Identification and Culture Vol 1 Pradhan 1976 drawing ok; The Orchids of India A Glimpse Misra 2007 drawing ok;