Saturday, September 20, 2008

An orchid the size of a small car ...

The New York Times reported earlier this week that a Grammatophyllum speciosum the size of a Volkswagen Beetle is in bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York.

The plant, purchased 10 years ago for $75, weighs approximately 200 pounds and is about 12 feet wide.

We saw the same species of Grammatophyllum when we were at a nursery in Hawaii in 2006. They are definitely large plants!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wild orchids in Hawaii

We just got back from traveling around three Hawaiian islands (Hawaii, Kauai, Oahu) and I am happy to report that we saw a patches of wild orchids on two islands. Neither species is endemic to Hawaii, but it was still exciting to spot them. Hawaii only has three endemic species (see post from March 2006).

On Kauai we saw patches of tall pink orchids inland in the valley near the Hanama'ulu and Wailua streams. These are Philippine ground orchids (Spathoglottis plicata) and were introduced. Unfortunately my pictures of these were taken on a disposable underwater camera and didn't turn out very well.

On the big island of Hawaii we saw patches of white and purple orchids which I believe are Bamboo orchids, also introduced (Arundinea graminifolia). We saw these in a few locations around the island including the Volcanoes National Park, where the plants were growing with other grasses surprisingly close to steam vents from the volcano, and near Akaka Falls State Park.

Pictured here are the "volcano orchids" (Bamboo orchids):