Thursday, November 13, 2008

In situ

Malaxis sp.

The picture of the above species was taken in situ near Dabong, Kelantan.
This species is common around montane areas where it is cool and misty all year round.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vanda helvola Bl.

A Rare Beauty,
only one from the tribe!

Vandas are one of the most popular hybrids commonly preferred by many hobbyists as it has the widest range of colours (except green colour). The blooms are large and showy and are long lasting. Crossings with Ascocendas brought out the orange hues. Most of the species used for crossings and hybridisations with other Vandas are with more easily available types coming in from the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

Our Vanda helvola is a very large plant and with its irratic flowering seasons make this a difficult specie to deal with and that is why not much is being used for crossings. This plant also do not grow well at sea level unless it is specially grown in a cold room environment.
It if found growing in hugh colonies on vertical limestone cliffs embedded with old roots of large timber trees. The ones we witnessed consisted of over a hundred plants!
This is a collectors' Masterpiece but with almost total clearing at the highlands, It is going to be very difficult to obtain. Some young hobbyists should ponder into getting the seed pods and artificially propagate to increase its survival so that many collectors can appriciate such Rare Malaysian Species.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nervilia aragoana Gaud.

An Interesting Terresterial Orchid

Tribe GASTRODIEAE Lindl., the Nervilia aragoana is a free flowering species and when grown altogether in a large pot, the cluster seems to be flowering all the time.

The single plant have its season and the flower will only appear after the large leaf dries off. It propagates via seed pods and its rhizomic shoots featuring a single, sometimes very large tuber.

It is common that this species hibernates for a period of 3-4 months.
The new leaves have purple spots but dissapears when fully grown.

The inflorescence is about 28cm tall bearing an average 5 greenish flowers with white hairy lip. Our discovery of this species was in the late 80s in Gua Musang, Kelantan while clearing our land for Cocoa plantings. We stopped and dug out this species to be planted on a reserved area. It has already overgrown its area during the entire period of 20 years.
It is very easy to grow here in Klang. It need 60% shading grown on slightly clayish soil topped with heavy leaf litter. It do not take kindly of chemicals especially fertilisers and fungicides.
We use only 'guano' (Bat droppings) every month. Sprinkling of fine limestones also helps for robust growth.

It can do well in shaded landscaping.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dendrobium hendersonii Hawkes & Heller.

A small beauty

This species was found growing along the waterfalls of Lata Lembik in Raub, Pahang.

I picked up a large fallen tree trunk with many other species such as the common Pigeon Orchid (Dendrobium crumenatum) I noticed the significant difference by its pseudobulb which is squarish and short compared to the common brethen. It was not flowering then but only 2 years later under cultivation. It is not commonly found in nurseries or collections except those who are keen in such rare beauties.
We like the flower shape which is so prominent and proudly, a Dendrobium. Perhaps someone could look into this for hybridization.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bulbophyllum lobbii Lindl.

Beautiful lobbii blooming high in the sky!
Was photographing wild birds on Sunday, I witnessed many Bulbophyllum lobbii in full bloom.
They were growing very high up on tall trees over hanging a steep cliff at least with a 800 ft drop. It was a lovely sight seeing it flowering in Nature' environment.
The picture was taken in Fraser's Hill, Pahang, Malaysia.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Grammatophyllum speciosum Bl.

Giant of the Orchids

This species the Grammatophyllum is the largest orchid plant in the World and is found in Malaysia to Papua New Guinea. G. speciosum have been recorded to weigh several tons!! The cane-like growth can reach up to 14 feet in height and is usually found growing on very large timber trees along river banks .
It is also known that this species, when removed to be grown elsewhere outside their natural environment, can be notoriously stubborn for not flowering even up to ten years! Our plant, a cutting of the one we have from Kelantan was grown here in our home here in Klang, Selangor for 6 years.
It flowered for the first time . The first bloom was at the last 4 days during the Chinese New Year i.e 17th. February,2008 and it lasted for over a month. The second bloom started 15th. June until today. The parent plant is still in Kelantan and usually flowers around Mederka Day in August.. We can safely conclude that orchid species like these, do not follow its flowering pattern when grown out of their location/recorded season.

We are very proud of its robust growth especially at lowland. We started with a total of 28 canes and as at today, we have over 82 canes! It is very healthy and easy to grow. In a specially built trough to grow this species, we have this G. speciosum from five different locations throughout the Peninsular. They are from Kelantan, Pedu(Kedah), Gentings(Pahang), Muar and K.Rompin (Johore). Only the one from Kelantan flowered and did it twice!

This is our planting which is next to our fresh water pond.
This is a picture of the single flower. It measured around 4ins x 6 ins each and the first stalk consists of 61 flowers!

We tested for self-pollination and it produced 3 large fruits measuring 8ins x 5 ins weighing 300gms each! We had to support its flower stalk too. The photo below was taken at its development stage. When the fruit ripens, normally takes about 3 months, bursts and showers the area below with millions of powder-like seeds. It is rare that new plants would be formed if the environment is not conducive. In nature, new seedlings are formed this way. This is due to the absence of nutrient-giving mycorrhiza. Many artificially germinate the seeds in the laboratory.
The total height of the flower stalk stands at 6 ft. (below)
The second flowering produced 80 flowers!
This picture (below) was taken Kuala Rompin, Johore. The Grammatophyllum speciosum was just grown under full sun outside the home but with strong sea breeze everyday.

It is also known that many orchids such as these have been used as traditional medicine. This article which appeared in 'The Star' Malaysia, reported that in Sarawak, the Kelabit people uses it as a food dish.
A very interesting reference book on how orchids are being used by humans is written by Professor Emeritus Joseph Arditti

"Fundamentals of Orchid Biology" [Wiley, ISBN 0-471-54906-1]

in the chapter 'Commercial and Ethnobotanical Uses of Orchids'.

I was glad to have meet him here in Petaling Jaya in August 2005 when he gave a presentation at the invitation by PRIME College.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Coelogyne miniata

This discription is not confirmed. I suspect it to be Coel. salmonicolor. Anyone can assist?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dipodium pictum

The colors and pattern of the flowers appears on the 'outside' rather than on the inside as in all orchids!
Does well on lowlands but with medium shade.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dilochia cantleyi

Montane Species

This is one montane species that would not flower at lowland. Ever.
This in-situ shot was captured last week in Genting Highlands and was flowering profusely. Our collected species from Gunong Stong, Kelantan, have not flowered for the last ten years although new plants were produced. The entire clump is healthy and getting larger but it did not flower at all.
This 'Dendrobium' look alike could be hybridized with other genus to produce some good flowers and was wondering anyone did it although someone did suggest doing so.

Another lovely Malaysian species and could be fast dissapearing due to heavy logging.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

Coelogyne speciosa

This is a rarer Coelogyne. The flowers are large and have a good tone of beige color. It was discovered at the upper reaches of a waterfall in Kelantan. The leaves are palm-like. It is also easy to grow at lowland but with a slightly heavier shade.

Bulbophyllum lobbii

Our all time favourite Bulbophyllum. This one is from Tras Pahang with its beautiful color tone and shade. An easy to grow even at lowlands in our home in Klang.

Slowly and Surely Dying

Is Kelantan Destroying Herself?

130 million years old and home to yet many unnamed flora and fauna, the jungles of Peninsular Malaysia is fast disappearing!
According to the Asia Sentinel's report here , it is indeed very sad as I have personally witnessed endless days of logging near our conservatory everytime I visit this place since the 80's. What else can we say? What else can we do?

So long tigers, elephants and the rest. Goodbye to all Orchid Species known and unknown.
It looks like this is what Malaysia is all about!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Grammatophyllum speciosum Bl.

This giant of the species is still blooming in our garden. This is the second time after the one started during the Chinese New Year.

Bulbophyllum corroliferum