Foxtail Orchid (Rhynchostylis retusa) or Kopou Flower

Foxtail Orchid The state flower of Assam

Foxtail Orchid or Rhynchostylis retusa the State flower of Assam
Foxtail Orchid

English Name: Foxtail Orchid
Scientific Name: Rhynchostylis retusa
Family: Orchidaceae
Genus: Rhynchostylis
Species: R. retusa
Assamese Name: কপৌফুল (Kopou Ful)
Hindi Name: द्रौपदी माला (Draupadi Mala)

Foxtail Orchid (Rhynchostylis retusa) or Kopou Flower
Foxtail Orchid is a raceme of densely packed flowers with white and pink spots. It gets its name because of its resemblance with a fluffy fox tail. They grow in warm weather and normally bloom in the month of April. They can grow up to 15 inch in length. The plant is an epiphyte and grows on tree trunks. Rhynchostylis retusa has mild or almost no fragrance.

Rhynchostylis retusa or Foxtail Orchid - The state flower of Assam is found in Northeast India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Borneo, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Growing Kopou flower(Foxtail Orchid)

Rhynchostylis retusa or Foxtail Orchid
Foxtail Orchid in a basket

Rhynchostylis or Foxtail orchid can be grown on tree trunks. Using a piece of cloth, you can wrap the orchid and some manure (like cow dung) around the bark of a tree. After some weeks the cloth can be unwrapped as the orchid will have attached itself with the bark by then. Foxtail orchids can also be grown in clay pots or wooden baskets with proper side drainage. The orchid should be re-potted only once every 4 to 5 years as the plant does not like being disturbed.

Medicinal use of Foxtail orchid

Kopou Flower the State symbol of Assam
Crushed Orchid

Throughout India and Nepal the plant is used for protecting, moisturizing, and lubricating the skin. In northeast India this plant is used for wounds, cuts and bruises. In some places it is used for treating asthma, cramp, vertigo and menstrual disorder.

Cultural Importance in Assam

A girl wearing Foxtail Orchid around her bun
Foxtail Orchid around bun

It is the state flower of Assam, a northeastern state of India. It is an essential part of the Assamese culture. Blooming of the flower in April signifies the start of a new Assamese year. Women use this flower as a head ornament and wear it around their bun while they dance bihu, a folk dance of Assam. Adding Kopou ful to one's hair while wearing traditional Assamese attire adds elegance to the beauty of a women.
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 About Assam

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