I just arrived back from 6 weeks of research with orchid conservation in the Philippines. To us orchid enthusiasts, and hopefully others, an important topic indeed. Orchids are popular ornamentals in the Philippines, and as of today most species are still collected from the forest. Consdering that the Philippines has some 1000 different species of orchids (!), this wouldn't be much of an issue, however rampant deforestation and destructive natural calamities exacerbate the decline in species populations. And to make matters more serious, it is estimated that 75-90% of the orchids of the Philippines are endemic, which means a loss of these species is a global loss in biodiversity. Want to know what I found out? Then stay in touch because this is a continuing saga!
I surveyed the markets of Metro Manila and found a number of orchids of which I will continue to post to the blog. For now, here's a few:
Arachnis longicaulis, aka the spider orchid
Spathoglottis plicata, a terrestrial commonly used in landscaping
Phalaenopsis equestris, a beautiful miniature
Paphiopedilum philippinense - this grows so abundantly that Cebuanos (people of Cebu island) use the leaves as pig feed! Obviously not needed on CITES appendix I !
Dendrobium uniflorum, aka popcorn orchid
Dendrobium anosmum, or sanggumay in Tagalog. One of the Filipinos favorite orchids, and very fragrant!
The average price of orchids at the sunday market - 1$ ! If it wasn't for CITES, and the fact that I was there to support orchid conservation not wild orchid collection of course, I would have come back with a suitcase full!