Ipsea speciosa

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Daffodil Orchid
නගා මැරූ අල
Ipsea speciosa.jpg
Ipsea speciosa illustration.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Collabieae
Genus: Ipsea
Species: I. speciosa
Binomial name
Ipsea speciosa
Lindl. (1831)

Spathoglottis speciosa (Lindl.) Pradhan

The Daffodil Orchid (Sinhalese: නගා මැරූ අල, scientific name: Ipsea speciosa)[2] is a rare wild orchid found in the hills of Sri Lanka and southern India.[1] It is a terrestrial herb with pseudobulbous stem. The lanceolate leaves of the plant are grass like and pointed at the end. Its large flowers appear from September to February, they are bright yellow and sweet-scented.

This plant can be seen in grass lands and pathana areas in mid hills of the country. The plant is known as නගා මැරූ අල in the Sinhala language, meaning "Yam which killed the little sister" according to a folk tale.

Like the Glory Lily, the Daffodil Orchid is used as an ingredient in making love charm portions and aphrodisiacs in local medicine.

Folk tale[edit]

A young princess walking along the jungle path with her elder brother suddenly attempted to provoke him to make love and have sexual intercourse with her. The prince got extremely angry and killed her instantly.

Later, searching for her unusual behavior, he found that she was innocent and her erotic feeling has aroused due to consuming of a tiny piece of the yam of a plant by mistake. Thereafter this plant, Ipsea speciosa, is known as “the yam which killed the younger sister” among locals.


  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Lindl, Gen. et Sp. Orch. 124.1831: Trimen, Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon
  • Dassanayake M. D.; Forsberg, F. R., eds. (1983). A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon. New Delhi, Oxford: IBH Publishing Co. 
  • "Ipsea speciosa (Daffodil Orchid)". ZipcodeZoo.com. Retrieved 2011-04-02.