Flower of the Sacred Sleep

Aerides quinquevulnera variety farmeri

This beautiful white – highly scented orchid,  is one of the most coveted orchid species in the country. Although this orchid species is indigenous to other Asian countries . It is in the Philippines were a popular folklore about the mysterious discovery . The natives who worship an orchid- flower and a priestess who jealously guards this orchid plant seems to add to the mystery of this orchid.

The name Aerides means air-plant. About 20 species belong to this genus of monopodial epiphytes. Most species are easy to grow and have highly perfumed flowers. Aerides odorata is highly variable in color, from deep pink to pure white, and is widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia. Aerides quinquevulnera is from Philippines and New Guinea.

Aerides quinquevulnera had about five or six varieties which is also found in Papua New Guinea .

Dr. Aleko E. Lilius who disclosed that in the northern part of the Philippines – there is a mystery legend where the native inhabitants of Calayan and Babuyan islands – part of the jurisdiction of Cagayan province, practice a secret ritual called ” Flower Fiesta “.

The beautiful ceremony is an ancient tradition probably several hundreds of years . This orchid ritual is called which is attributed to the rare orchid which local people called ” Saguy Yep-Yep ” or ” Flower of the Sacred Sleep” referring to the blooming season of this orchid species  .

People worship this orchid for many unknown reasons – part religious , part fertility rites . Some say it is about the spirit that lives on the orchid and guards the islanders .

The orchid is secretly attended by a beautiful priestess , chosen by her ancestors to take care of the orchid .

Dr. Lilius tricked into leading him to the secret location of the rare orchid where he was able to obtain a sizable clump from a huge specimen. Some collectors believed that Aerides odorata variety alba and Aerides quinquevulnera variety farmeri are being worshiped by the natives, since the orchid range also overlapped with each other and both  orchid species are found in the country.

The main blooming season of this orchid species  is between July- August to September .

Some of the better  blooming specimen may still command a handsome price tag . The tales of this epic story was repeatedly published in Manila Bulletin , Manila Times and on several Philippine Orchid Review magazines and Philippines’ Book on Orchids by Mr. Andres Golamco Jr. published in 1991.

Some orchid collectors still regard this species in their wish list!

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