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.