What are Ephemerals?

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What are Ephemerals? Blog Image


Researchers and environmental groups are documenting floral species in the State of Maharashtra and educating people about their existence through nature walks.

About Ephemerals:

  • These are any short-lived plant, usually one that has one or more generations per year.
  • They grow only during favourable periods (as when adequate moisture is available) and passing the unfavourable periods in the form of seeds. 
  • They are of two types — annual and perennial
    • Annual ephemerals form new individuals every year and are seen for a very short period.
    • They form seeds at the end of their life cycle, remaining dormant till the next year.
    • Perennials have a source like a tuber or a bulb in the soil, so it is the same individual, but the other parts (stem, flowers) are newly formed.”
  • Monsoon ephemerals bloom towards the end of May and throughout June, July, August, and September.
  • Some other monsoon ephemerals will just form leaves and little branch structures after a few showers.
  • These leaves stay for a month or more and then flowering starts, which goes on till July and August. 
  • The onset of monsoon brings flowers such as ground orchids (Nervilia and Eulophia), lilies (crinum lily, pancratium lily, grass lily, star lily), wild yam (suran), and Indian squill. 
  • Significance
    • The primary job of these flowers is to act as an important source of nectar and pollen for native pollinators.
    • Their presence in all micro habitats on a plateau ensures the appropriate presence of soil and, most importantly, water.


Q1) What are Orchids?

Orchids are a diverse and highly specialized family of flowering plants, known for their unique and often strikingly beautiful flowers. They belong to the family Orchidaceae, which is one of the largest plant families, with thousands of genera and over 25,000 species.

Source: Maharashtra’s ephemerals: plants that wait for monsoon to bloom