Scent of a Sanggumay Orchid

Quezon City , Philippines

Sanggumay orchids may refer to several pendulous Dendrobium orchid species that is found in wide range of habitats in the Philippines . Usually the common name refers to  Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay ) , Dendrobium aphyllum ( lesser , fairy, dainty sanggumay ), Dendrobium heterocarpum , Dendrobium rhombeum ( yellow sanggumay ) . They are also called Latigo, Salome in some parts of the archipelago .

 

 Dendrobium anosmum ( ordinary color )

Latigo – is a Spanish word which means a long strap on a saddle tree of a western saddle . Because of  its long canes and the ability for the canes to be used as some sort of saddle for children playing , Hence it was called as such by the locals.

Salome also refers to the pendulous Dendrobium species like Dendrobium anosmum and Dendrobium aphyllum which their long canes or pseudo bulbs add seductiveness and erotic elements to the cultivation of the orchid species, especially when grown into big specimen and its long danging roots adds mystery to its growth . Hence some backyard growers refer them as such.

Sanggumay orchid exhibit at the 70th annual orchid and garden show

The word Sanggumay was derived from Tagalog root words : Sangsang  which means nauseating ,overpowering, stench (smell), and “Umay” or ” Gumay”  meaning tired-some, surfeit , satiety.

Please try to visit related link:  Sanggumays Flowering in the City

There are several color forms and varieties which is found over wide range of Asian countries from China, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand , Indonesia, India , Cambodia, Papua  New Guinea, Philippines  from sea level of lower primary forests at elevations up to 1,500 meters.

Dendrobium anosmum variety dearei ( alba or virginalis ) plant is grown by Mrs. Anita Arebal -Are from Baras , Rizal province

Another orchid species often called sanggumay is  Dendrobium aphyllum . Sometimes , backyard growers and plant traders would call them as fairy sanggumays  , lesser or dainty sanggumays to connote the smaller flowers, thinner canes and less over powering smell compared to Dendrobium anosmum.

clumps of sanggumays being sold within the Quezon Memorial Circle

The white colored- Dendrobium anosmum variety dearei or white / alba variety had a slower growth compared to the ordinary form and it is not commonly sold in the market . Sometimes , a plant with few canes with some flowers would fetch a few hundred of pesos , while bigger clumps would fetch a few thousand !  Another rarer variety “huttonii ”  and “coerulescens ”  would cost more.

Sanggumay attached to a living host in Barangay Buhatan , Sorsogon City

Some other Dendrobium species includes Dendrobium heterocarpum , Dendrobium rhombeum, Dendrobium crumenatum ( General Nakar area, Quezon ) , Dendrobium busigerium, Dendrobium secundum and Dendrobium bullenianum would be labeled as sanggumay by dealers or backyard growers.

Scent , Fragrance or Nauseating Smell ?

The scent of the sanggumay would vary from one person . The smell meant to attract insect pollinators particularly moth, butterflies, flies, wasps , gnats and carpenter bees . The scent is strongest during night time and early morning . The smell quickly fade by late morning .

It smells like Raspberry , Grape flavor , Bubble gum or Artificial candy .

Sanggumay grown in Barangay Sisigon, Matnog, Sorsogon province

I think this is one of the most popular native orchid that is frequently cultivated in many parts of the country . In my recent road trip to Southern Luzon and Bicol provinces , Almost every houses on main streets and those with large trees have some Dendrobium anosmum or Dendrobium aphyllum that are growing almost in carefree situation.

Dendrobium anosmum and Dendrobium aphyllum grown on a pomelo shrub in Barangay Sisigon, Matnog, Sorsogon province

Since the weather and climate of Southern Luzon and Bicol provinces is different from Western part of the country , Most of the sanggumays that i have seen have only started to shed their leaves.  The weather is always cloudy with slight drizzle when we are there .  ( Type 4 climate ) Please visit : PAGASA for climate reference. Majority of the sanggumays still have leaves and it could be a month or so before they bloom.

Dendrobium anosmum and Pteroceras pallidum grown in live kakawate tree (Gliricidia sepium ) within Barangay Sisigon , Matnog , Sorsogon province

Ethono Botanical Uses:

The flowers are strung to form a garland , used as corsage during graduation ,  processional carriages are also decorated with the flowers.

In some places , They are grown near the entrance of one’s house, as some superstitious folks believes that it could ward off evil spirits or even black dwarves .

There is one orchid grower from Sorsogon province which told me that they consider the orchid species as “Good Omen” plant , during its blooming season , before the flowers would fully open , they would whisper their wishes to the orchid .

References:

Orchid Species : http://www.orchidspecies.com/denanosmum.htm

Stuart Exchange : http://www.stuartxchange.com/Kakawati.html

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