Sunday, March 26, 2006

More Orchids in Bloom

This is Maxillaria juergensis. I have always had a thing for black orchids and this one comes close. There are a few out there that are much more black, but I don't rember their names. This is a cute minature with pin cushion type leaves and bulbs that produces these interesting flowers. The lip looks wet eventhough it isn't. I think this aids polination somehow?

This is Leptotes bicolor and is a real nice minature. It has 2 inch terete leaves and produces these nice 1 inch flowers. I have seen some great speciman plants of this orchid, but have a ways to go with mine.

This is Cirrhopetalum lasiochilum. I have seen color forms of this species from pale green yellow, to this form, to a dark burgundy red color. It is easy to grow except that it is a creeper and is best mounted on bark. I use cork bark allot but tree fern works well also.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Philippine Orchid Experience

I spent the month of January this year in the Philippines. I went mainly to surf but also took some time to indulge in my orchid obsession. I travelled around the island of Luzon, spending most of the time on the coast where I continually went in search of orchids in the wild. I didn't have much luck so I turned to my hardcover orchid text that I carted around with me for some help ("The Orchids of the Philippines" by Jim Cootes, a very good reference). To my disappointment I found out that the author "...has never observed any orchid species growing in the coastal forest...", and realized then that in order to find some wild orchids I'd have to leave the waves and the beaches.

Fortunately I didn't have to go too far, and I found my first wild Philippine orchid on a hike to a local waterfall. I identified it as Trichoglottis latisepala.

I was very excited about my first orchid discovery but things kind of went dry after that and I only found 2 others in the wild. The first photo is Dendrobium yeageri which was found randomly, and the next 2 photos are Spathoglottis plicata which was found in a nature reserve.

When I only had a few days left of my adventure I decided to do it the easy way and went to the "Orchidarium" in Manila to satisfy my orchid needs. It is a place in Manila that everyone should visit, when your inside surrounded by orchids and other tropical flora the smell and sounds of city traffic almost dissappear.

An interesting one that stood out was the small and inconspicuous Dendrobium distichum (first photo). The second photo is also a Dendrobium, D. amethystoglossum. Isn't the diversity of the genus amazing?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Orchids in Bloom

Three orchids went into bloom for me this weekend. The first is Dendrobium dixanthum. A deciduous Dendrobium with one foot long pencil thin psuedobulbs which produce several beautiful yellow flowers at their tops.

The second is the gorgeous Paphiopedlum micranthum. The bubble gum pink is so unique! I am lucky and get this plant to bloom two times a year for me. The plant has very beautiful molted foliage which is enjoyed throughout the year when the plant is out of bloom.

The third is Bifrenaria harrisoniae. I can't take any credit for blooming this one as I bought it at the Victoria Orchid Society Show already in bud in the first week of March. It finally opened up and has one of the most pleasant fragrances.

Stay tuned for future posts as I returned in February from a back country expedition in Mexico where I saw many orchids growing in the wild.

Mystery orchid

Anyone know what species of Bulbophyllum this might be? Sasha took this photo at the Victoria Orchid Society show a couple of weekends ago.

The plant was labelled Bulb. species. I've browsed through a couple of orchid guides (eg. Botanica's pocket orchids) as well as checking through the bulbophyllum species listed at the Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia (though not every bulb. species listed, just the bulb. species listed towards the end), but to no avail. There is a bearded orchid (Bulbophyllum barbigerum) but it doesn't look the same.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Hawaiian orchids

Did you know that there are only three species of orchids endemic to the Hawaiian Islands?

"The native flora of Hawaii includes three species of orchids, but these are so obscure that two types did not even score a Hawaiian name. The Orchid Center of the World, with its ideal climate, never developed a significant orchid population of its own." (Read an interesting article about the history and role of orchids in Hawaii, today a 25 million dollar industry.)

The first native Hawaiian orchid is Liparis hawaiensis, or twayblade, a tiny green-flowered species. Liparis is usually found in the high rain forests under a tree canopy from 2,000 and 5,000 feet. It blooms throughout the year, mostly from May through November.

The second native Hawaiian orchid is the jewel orchid, or Anoectochilus sandvicensis. Found on all the major Hawaiian islands (except perhaps Lana'i) this is the most common of the three orchids. The jewel orchid can found in the high rain forests, usually between 1,000 and 5,000 feet, and it blooms throughout the year, mostly from August through December.

The third orchid is Platanthera holochila, or fringed orchid. Apparently it is extremely rare and is on the Endangered Species list. It has infrequently been sighted on the islands of Maui, Kau'i and Moloka'i. It has not been seen on the island of O'ahu in 60 years and has never been recorded on the Big Island.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

New ebay orchid

I was recently browsing the ebay orchid selection, not really intending to buy anything but always a dangerous pursuit anyways, and found a dendrobium orchid that I really liked. It was apparently in bud, and feeling a lack of blooming or even blooming size orchids in my collection, I decided to go ahead and purchase it. Didn't even have to bid on it as it had a Buy It Now price.

It's a Dendrobium moniliforme and it arrived today. It was in bud when I bought it this past weekend, and when it arrived it had five open blooms on it! I had to unwrap it very carefully so as not to disturb the flowers, and they have a lovely scent, sort of spicy. I have yet to pot the plant, but it also has 2 or 3 new growths on it. Overall I would say that I am so far very happy with this plant. The picture isn't very great as there wasn't much light last night, but it gives you an idea. Also, here is some culture info.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Victoria Orchid Society show

Last weekend Jenn came to town for a visit and we went to the VOS show where we met up with Sasha. The three of us hit the sales area first, and after carefully selecting some new plants, we toured the display plants. The orchid show marks the one year anniversary of my avid collecting phase, and the three new plants I bought brings my total new plants in the past year to 27! The centrepiece of the top picture is of course a beautiful Coelogyne cristata. One day my plant might look like that!! Below, Jenn is admiring a Paph. micranthum.