Fine Art

Vanda tessalata

Vanda tessalata, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Orchidaceae
Subfamilia: Epidendroideae
Tribus: Vandeae
Subtribus: Aeridinae
Genus: Vanda
Species: Vanda tessellata

Vanda tessellata (Roxb.) Hook. ex G.Don in J.C.Loudon, Hort. Brit.: 372 (1830).

Type species:


Epidendrum tessellatum Roxb., Pl. Coromandel 1: 34 (1795).
Cymbidium tessellatum (Roxb.) Sw., Nova Acta Regiae Soc. Sci. Upsal. 6: 75 (1799).
Aerides tessellata (Roxb.) Wight ex Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 240 (1833).
Vanda roxburghii R.Br., Bot. Reg. 6: t. 506 (1820).
Cymbidium allagnata Buch.-Ham. ex Wall., Numer. List: n.º 7327 (1832), nom. nud.
Cymbidium tesselloides Roxb., Fl. Ind. ed. 1832, 3: 463 (1832).
Vanda tesselloides (Roxb.) Rchb.f. in W.G.Walpers, Ann. Bot. Syst. 6: 864 (1864).
Vanda roxburghii var. wrightiana Rchb.f., Gard. Chron., n.s., 20: 262 (1883).

Native distribution areas:

China South-Central.
Indian Subcontinent
Assam, Bangladesh, East Himalaya, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, West Himalaya.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Hooker, W.J. 1830. Loudon's Hortus Britannicus. A catalogue . . . 372.
Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.W. & Rasmussen, F.N. (eds.) 2014. Genera Orchidacearum Volume 6: Epidendroideae (Part three); page 317 ff., Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19964-651-7

Additional references

Gardiner, L.M. 2012. New combinations in the genus Vanda (Orchidaceae). Phytotaxa 61: 47–54. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.61.1.4 Paywall ResearchGate PDF Reference page.

Links 2018. Vanda tessellata in The Orders and Families of Monocotyledons. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 4.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2018. Vanda tessellata in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 4. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2018. Vanda tessellata. Published online. Accessed: 4 November 2018.
The Plant List 2013. Vanda tessellata in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 4. 2018. Vanda tessellata. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2018 November 4.

Vernacular names

English: Grey orchid
മലയാളം: മരവഞ്ചി
मराठी: रास्ना
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ରାସ୍ନା

Vanda tessellata (also known as Grey orchid[1] or Checkered Vanda[2]) is a species of orchid occurring from the Indian subcontinent to Indochina. It is a medicinal plant.


It is an epiphytic perennial, stem 30–60 cm long, stout, scandent by the stout, simple or branching aerial roots. Leaves succulent, 15–20 cm, long, linear, recurved, complicate. Flowers in 6-10 flowered racemes, reaching with the peduncle 15–25 cm long. Sepals yellow, tessellated with brown lines and with white margins. Petals yellow with brown lines and white margins, shorter than the sepals. Lip 16 mm long, bluish, dotted with purple. Capsules 7.5–9 cm long, narrowly clavate-oblong with acute ribs.

Vanda tessellata (as syn. Vanda roxburghii) plate 506 in: The Botanical Register (Orchidaceae), vol. 6, (1820)

Vanda tessellata (as syn. Vanda roxburghii) plate 2245 in: Curtis's Bot. Magazine (Orchidaceae), vol. 48, (1821)

Vanda tessellata (as syn. Vanda roxburghii) Plate 59 in: R.Warner - B.S.Williams: The Orchid Album (1882-1897)

Medicinal uses

The roots are alexiteric and antipyretic; useful in dyspepsia, bronchitis, inflammations, piles and hiccup. Externally the root is used in rheumatism and allied disorders and diseases of the nervous system. It is also employed as a remedy for secondary syphilis and scorpion stings. The juice of the leaves is used topically in otitis and a paste of them finds use as a febrifuge. The roots possess significant anti-inflammatory activity.[3] and exhibit potent analgesic effects combined with a relatively low toxicity [4] A novel aphrodisiac compound ( 2,7,7-tri methyl bicyclo [2.2.1] heptane) has been found in the orchid in 2013.[5]
Chemical composition

The plant has an alkaloid, a glucoside, tannins, β-sitosterol, γ-sitosterol and a long chain aliphatic compound, fatty oils, resins and colouring matters. Roots contain tetracosyl ferrulate and β-sitosterol-D-glucoside.[3][6]
Traditional practices

In the Yunani system, the root is used as a tonic for the liver and brain; effective against bronchitis, piles, lumbago, toothache, and boils of the scalp; it also is said to lessen inflammation and heal fractures. The root is said to be fragrant, bitter and useful in rheumatism and allied disorders, in which it is prescribed in a variety of forms. It is also used in the composition of several medicated oils for external application in rheumatism and diseases of the nervous system. In Chota Nagpur, the leaves are pounded into a paste and then applied to the body during fever. A compound decoction of this root is administered in cases of Hemiplegia as some Indian physicians consider it useful in rheumatism and all nervous diseases. The leaves are pounded and the paste is applied to the body to bring down fever; the juice is dropped in the ear for the treatment of Otitis media and other inflammatory conditions. The roots are used in Dyspepsia, Bronchitis, Rheumatism, and also in fever; they are reported to possess antibacterial and anti-tubercular properties. The herb is also used for Sciatica. The leaves are used by the Santhal girls for making anklets.
Use as an entheogen in India

'Ayurvedic shamans' in India are said to have used the plant to induce 'the hypnotic narcosis of their office' leading to 'a transcendent state of being', having learnt originally of the intoxicating properties of this orchid by observing bees which had fed upon its nectar falling to the ground in a state of stupefaction.[7] Evidence for the practice is sparse, but, given the presence of alkaloids in V.tessellata and its well-documented employment in diseases of the nervous system, such use is intrinsically plausible. In similar vein, Tantric magicians are said to have ingested the fleshy roots of this species as an aid to divination, along with the tubers of another orchid, Dendrobium macraei (synonyms Ephemerantha macraei and Flickingeria macraei, but see page Flickingeria re. unaccepted genus name still used in the horticulture trade).[8]


"Vanda tessellata (Roxb.) Hook. ex G.Don". CITES Species+. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
Rao, Sankara; Swamy, Raja K; Kumar, Deepak; R., Arun Singh; Bhat, K. Gopalakrishna. "Vanda tessellata". Flora of peninsular India. Indian Institute of Science. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
Ghani, 2003
Uddin, Md. Josim; Rahman, Md. Masudur; Abdullah-Al-Mamun, Md.; Sadik, Golam (2015). "Vanda roxburghii: An experimental evaluation of antinociceptive properties of a traditional epiphytic medicinal orchid in animal models". BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 15: 305. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0833-y. PMC 4559165. PMID 26335564.
A Subramoniam, A Gangaprasad, P K Sureshkumar, J Radhika and B K Arun (18 April 2013). A novel aphrodisiac compound from an orchid that activates nitric oxide synthases ' International Journal of Impotence Research , (18 April 2013) doi:10.1038/ijir.2013.18
Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1990
Narcotic Plants (revised and enlarged second edition) ,Emboden,William,pub. Macmillan USA and Studio Vista UK 1979.
The Dictionary of Sacred and Magical Plants by Rätsch, Dr.Christian, pub. Prism Press, Bridport UK 1992.

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