Fairy Sanggumay Blooming in Our Garden

Novaliches, Quezon City -Philippines

Dendrobium aphyllum

It is the month of  March –  It started to be warm and temperature is rising.  After a freak weather system during the last quarter of the 2014. We were rewarded with some blooms .   

flushes of young purple leaves

This particular orchid clone had some purplish leaves and this was given to me as a few small keikis last March 1, 2014  . I took notice of the strange leaf coloration  ( majority of the Dendrobium aphyllum that I got have green leaves)  . According to  Mrs. Adelina Almerol of Marikina City , She got it  from Pangasinan province few years back. She then grew a lot of the orchids attached to the fruits trees within her property. I also saw some of her neighbors having some of the orchid species. They were probably given by Mrs. Almerol .

 Last year’s post : Dendrobium cucullatum flowering in our garden

pseudobulbs ( December 4, 2014)

Dendrobium aphyllum with their leaves .

long pseudobulbs without the leaves ( March 4, 2015)

I started drying my  Dendrobium aphyllum / Dendrobium cucullatum late October 2014,  However freak weather pattern during the last quarter of 2014 delayed the drying of my orchids. It rained several times during the last quarter up until first few weeks of January 2015.

Dendrobium aphyllum  ( photo taken last December 2014)

Dendrobium aphyllum ( photo taken March 4, 2015 )

The Marikina clones had  fatter but shorter pseudobulbs compared to other clones .  The longest ones are just around 100 centimeters long .  The other clones that I bought from sunday and plant show traders are between 100 to 200 centimeters long .

Dendrobium aphyllum grown by  Vic Chin’s Orchids and Ornamental Plant Farm

According to some orchid traders , Most of them are grown in the backyards ,  mounted on large trees or grown in coconut husks.  Sometimes , to some extent – wild collected.  I think , this is one of the most common cultivated orchid species in the Philippines , China, India and Southeast Asia.

Common Names:

 This type of orchid species are locally called sanggumays, fairy sanggumays, lesser sanggumays, dainty sanggumays ( due to much smaller flowers and paler flowers), salome ( due to the long pseudobulbs ) , hooded dendrobium, temple orchids , shell orchids among others.

Synonyms:

This orchid had several synonyms – Some of the orchid traders refer to this as Dendrobium pierardii , Dendrobium cucullatum and Dendrobium aphyllum (Roxb.) C.E.C.Fisch. 1928.

Cultivation and Fertilization

I have several clones mounted on living palms or  trees. Mounting them on a piece of wood or kakawate seems to be perfect. It is pendulous type and requires a lot of space . The mount material should be sturdy . Whenever I buy some Dendrobium aphyllum – I measure the longest pseudo-bulbs / canes and try to mount them on a palm or tree facing the eastern or southeastern location preferably facing morning sun. Using strips of old cloth ( cut into lengthwise ) or plastic straws in securing them.

Most of the orchids are mounted between 8 to 10 feet from the ground. This is to give them enough room to grow. One month after blooming, I would start the regular fertilization using 20N-20P-20K water soluble fertilizer with trace elements and alternating the fertilization scheme with other known fertilizer brands 3 to 4 times a week. ( i would recommend lower dosage of fertilizer but more frequent  in usage) I also add a few slow release fertilizers ( sewn into a small piece of cloth ) to further boost the growth.

During the later part of the year – September to late November  , Try to change the formulation of the fertilizer to 10N-30P-30K , 9N-45P-15K, 15N-15P-30K ( depending on the fertilizer formulation )  . With high Phosphorus and Potassium during flowering and after maturity of bulbs is recommended.

Watering

Mounted plants can be watered daily in summer if the air circulation is good. In a basket, use a very well-drained epiphyte mix.  During rainy season ( It tend to rain almost everyday)   .  We only fertilize the orchid every other day and occasionally apply fungicide just before the onset of the rainy season late April or early May .

Flowers:

 The inflorescences are short, arising laterally from the leafless stems of the previous growing season. There are usually many inflorescences per pseudobulb , with one to three flowers on each. The flowers are 4–5 cm across and open widely with a pleasant fragrance. The sepals and petals are somewhat translucent, yellowish cream to whitish, more or less strongly suffused and marked with pinkish violet. The lip is trumpet-shaped, variable in width (from 2.0–3.8 cm wide when spread), pale yellow or less often white, whitish at the base, with dark violet branching veins inside the tube-shaped part, and densely covered with soft, short hair on the exterior surface and along the margins, except in the basal part.

Breeding

It was early December 2014 when some of the Dendrobium aphyllum ( Laguna / Quezon clone) bloomed . ( I think it was due to the freak weather pattern ) and Dendrobium aphyllum ( Marikina clone) bloomed. I tried a few attempts in self pollinating the orchids, but all were unsuccessful. Some local orchid growers and hobbyists told me that it is quite hard to pollinate this species.

Dendrobium aphyllum ( Marikina ) pod parent

Dendrobium aphyllum ( Laguna / Quezon clone) pollen parent

I  got some pollen from ( Dendrobium aphyllum ( Laguna/ Quezon clone ) and cross it with the Dendrobium ( Marikina clone) pod parent  . I choose to get the pollen from this plant because of the wide lip and large flowers.

Dendrobium aphyllum ( seed pod ) March 4, 2015

Cross Pollination

The results was quite successful ! I manage to pollinate the 2 different clones of Dendrobium aphyllum which resulted on the wilting of the flower just 1 day after the procedure was done. I think the seed pod might be ready for sowing in about 1 month or so depending on the temperatures and capsule development .

Note: I am still in the process of collecting some Dendrobium aphyllum in different provinces for possible breeding and study purposes . I would like to ” Thank” Mr. Reynaldo Lucas for a small keikis given to the author last February 22, 2015 .

Website Link: IUCN

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