Pristine white in colour, symbolising the ideals of peace and non-violence, a new breed of orchid named after Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled on Wednesday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur.
The new variety of the exotic flower named Phalaenopsis Memoriam Mahatma Gandhi has been developed by noted Sikkimese orchid expert Mohan Pradhan.
A coffee table book carrying photographs and write-ups of about 100 most exotic orchids from the North-East written by the 35-year-old Pradhan was also released on the occasion by Kaur.
"The book captures the natural beauty of the North-East. It brings alive some of the most exotic orchids and tempts us to visit the region and observe these plants in their natural surroundings," she said.
Kaur said the book also gives practical tips on how to grow orchids.
Pradhan, who developed a new variety of orchid at the age of 12, spent seven years working on the book, studying the orchids and photographing them.
"There are 700 varieties of orchids in the North-East region. I have chosen the 100 rarest and most beautiful orchids for the book," he said.
The author said it was a pity that so far only 35 man-made varieties of orchids had been developed in India, that was very paltry compared to the large number of new breeds of the delicate flower created world-wide.
Union Tourism Minister Ambika Soni was also present on the occasion.