Peak Summer Blooms of Cymbidium finlaysonianum with 6 spikes in our backyard

Cymbidium finalysonianum or also called as boat orchid is again in bloom, But for the first time we were rewarded with 6 spikes and its blooming season spanned mid- March 2021 to past May 13, 2021.

Cymbidium Finlaysonianum Peak Summer Bloom

Cymbidium finlaysonianum orchid flowering season tend to peak during the hot and dry season from early March to early June in the western part of the country. But it can vary in some regions of provinces where rainy season would gradually tapers off.

There is not secret, This once a year bloom is much awaited and anticipated by many growers. Its yellowish flowers are long and quite impressive when grown en masse. The flowers had also some color shades and some variations.

This is also the hottest recorded heat index and peak high temperature in many parts of the country.

3rd inflorescence

The orchid started showing its inflorescence during second week of March and gradually its flowers began to develop. This one is mounted on Manila palm ( Adonidia merrillii) for a number of years. The first inflorescence grew 54 inches with 23 flowers, then 1 week later another one which grew 56 inches with 30 flowers, 3rd inflorescence grew with 27 flowers, then 4th inflorescence grew 32 inches and with 18 flowers, the 5th inflorescence grew 40 inches with 24 flowers, the 6th and last inflorescence is 60 inches long with 32 flowers.

4th inflorescence

Since it is very hot in Metro Manila with average day time temperature hitting between 33 to 36 degrees C, The flowers usually wilt within two or three days after it bloomed. But having over 150 flowers in indeed spectacular.

Cymbidium Finlaysonianum Care and Fertilization

small pieces of cloth with slow release fertilizer are mounted on top of the roots of Cymbidium finlaysonianum 1st inflorescence

During its growing season which coincide with the onset of the rainy season in western part of the country. We would put several slow release fertilizer ( ratio is 20 to 30 pieces per small cloth) and mount them on top of the root this orchid.

Since the orchid is quite big and over 25 years-old, we would put between 5 to 6 small cloth then mount them near the roots of the specimen orchid.

4th and 5th inflorescence

Then alternate every week with weak doze of water soluble fertilizer 20-N, 20P, 20K diluted into 1/4 to 1/2 strength, normally after watering the orchid. Then, try to apply some trace elements, calcium nitrate and epsom salt in small quantities once every two weeks intervals.

Try to spray the diluted water soluble fertilizer in the underside of the leaves and leaves too, whenever possible. In some instances having a companion plant like ferns particularly Asplenium nidus or Asplenium musifolium ( pakpak lawin/ dapo, paipaimo, dapong lalaki, dapong babae, manalo/ manalu) Davallia ( rabbit foot fern) would increase humidity around its roots and helps in retaining water.

3th which withered off , 4th, 5th and 6th inflorescences

The slow release fertilizer, water soluble diluted fertilizers and other trace elements would help fertilize the ferns hence maintaining a symbiotic relationship between the orchid and other plants. In some cases, insects like bugs, cockroaches, moths, garden spiders and geckos are observe making a small ecosystem or micro- climate.

Repeat the procedure of putting slow release fertilizer sewn in small pieces of cloth after 3 to 4 month intervals after all its content were flush out, This would be around late July or early August ( same formula balance) when the rainy season is on its peak. By the end of September or early October when the small cloth bags have leached out the nutrients. We would change the formulation to 10N-13P-13K for the slow release fertilizer and at the same time the formulation of water soluble fertilizer, 10N-30P-30K in preparation for its blooming season. By mid-November or early December, most of the nutrients coming from the slow release fertilizer have already leached out completely.

This is also the time that we try to reduce watering and completely stopping any form of fertilization for this orchid species. Drying is important for this species to induce its blooming season from early March to early part of June. This will depend on your respective local climatology chart posted by the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration ( PAG-ASA ).

Metro Manila and western part of the country is usually classified under type 1- with Two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year.

But thru years of growing and observation, Majority of our Cymbidium finlaysonianum blooms between mid- March to early June. The orchid species is commonly grown in Novaliches, Fairview, White Plains, Corinthian Gardens, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City and in many parts of Metro Manila.

Cymbidium finlaysonianum orchid is sold in Eaton Centris (Sidcor) sunday market, Baclaran Plant Bazaar , garden centers and sometimes peddled by ambulant orchid/ plant sellers.

The larger specimen Cymbidium finalysonianum can have dozens of inflorescence during the duration of its blooming season. Hope that this small practical care and fertilization will inspire new growers of this wonderful species.

The smaller and more compact type Cymbidium finlaysonianum had also started to bloom. Happy Growing to all !

Note: all photos are taken by the author

Color Forms of Cymbidium Finlaysonianum and Arrival of Rainy Season

There were some backyard growers of Cymbidium finlaysonianum who posted their blooming orchids in different Fb group and social media sites since late May 2020.

We were again rewarded with the blooming of Cymbidium finlaysonianum clumps which were mounted in living Manila Palm (Adonidia merrillii) for several decades. The first specimen clump bloomed late April 2020.

Color Forms of Cymbidium finlaysonianum

One can spot the different color forms of the Cymbidium finlaysonianum from the actual orchid grown and photographed by the owners.  This also coincide with the blooming season of this species.

It was last June 11 when PAG-ASA , the local weather bureau officially declared the start of the rainy season in the western part of the country.  This marks the transition to hot humid dry season to the wet season. The transition happened when we experience more rain showers in April and May which signals the onset of the transition period.

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The first specimen Cymbidium finlaysonianum started to send spike late April with 20 flowers and then another spike with 23 flowers bloomed within two week interval.

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pale yellow form ( first inflorescence) 

This is the larger clump and having pale yellowish flower. The blooming season was late April to early part of May 2020.

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pale yellow form ( second inflorescence)

The orchid species had been growing in our garden for at least 30 years. Another clump with smaller more compact leaves and smaller inflorescence developed on the last week of May and the bloom lasted only until June 8. Before the last flower wilted because of the intense heat, Another much longer inflorescence develop with at least 15 flowers.

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Cymbidium finlaysonianum ( second clump with smaller flowers and compact growth)

We also noticed that the Davallia fern or rabbit foot fern had also grown luxuriantly. With a combination of slow release fertilize attached to base of the clump, weekly weakly regimen of fertilization program can also help boost the growth of both the orchid and fern. Some local growers would also plant bird’s nest fern near the orchid, which can enhance the aesthetic beauty of the mounted orchid.

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A neighbor sometimes would collect small amount of cow dung ( manure) dry them for at least 3 to 4 months in semi-shade. She would apply it once in a while in their Cymbidium finlaysonianum especially during its growing period.

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Cymbidium finlaysonianum with reddish lip grown in Morong, Rizal province ( photo courtesy of Mr. Gelo T. DL)

An FB friend from Morong, Rizal province posted his wonderful specimen clump of Cymbidium finlaysonianum which had more reddish lip and darker yellowish flowers compared to the ordinary clone. He told me that it was rescued from his grandmother’s ancestral house and could be at least 30 or so years old.

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Cymbidium finlaysonianum grown by Mrs. Anita Are

Another backyard grower and lifetime member of the Philippine Orchid Society is Ms. Anita Arcebal Are who gladly shared her specimen sized Cymbidium finlaysonianum growing in a living tree within her garden for several decades in Baras, Rizal province.

A Cymbidium finlaysonianum variety flava  with pure white lip is grown by few growers. The orchid grows a little slow compared with ordinary forms.

Bibliographies and Sources:

Personal communication with growers like Ms. Anita Are, Mr. Gelo T. DL and Mrs. Fe Nanguil

The Complete Writings on Philippine Orchids Vol 1 Quisumbing 1981; The Complete Writings on Philippine Orchids Vol 2 Quisumbing 1981 drawing

Second Print 1982, Manila pages, 86 to 91: Davis S. Reg and Steiner Mona Lisa: Philippine Orchids ” A detailed Treatment of Some One Hundred Native Species” printed by M& L Licudine Enterprises, Dongalo, Parañaque, Philippines 

Orchidiana Philipiniana Vol 1 Valmayor 1984
The Orchids of the Philippines Cootes 2001
Teo, Chris K. H. Cymbidium Pages, 44 to 49; Native Orchids of Peninsular Malaysia 1985, 2001, Times Media Private Unlimited.

Interesting Orchids and Plants at Santa Fe Orchidarium, Nueva Viscaya

Interesting flowering plants, orchids, ornamental plants and tree fern by- products can be bought along road side stalls within the town of Santa Fe, Nueva Viscaya province.

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roadside stall selling native plants, orchids, ferns and ornamental plants

This is my third time within Santa Fe in Nueva Viscaya province. My first visit was over 10 years ago, when a small group of friends decided to visit an old time native plant seller.

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Prices had changed a lot thru the years. Compared to the last visit few years ago, there were less road side sellers. Probably due to the enforcement of DENR regulations and enforcement.

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Dendrobium aphyllum which is locally called salome, fairy sanggumay , lesser sanggumay, dainty orchid by backyard growers.

According to a backyard growers, they usually attached the orchid to their mangoes trees or palm trees.

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Some of the orchids, ferns and bromeliads were naturalized on large trees, palms and mahogany.

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Dendrobium aphyllum ,Billbergia pyramidalis and other native orchids naturalized on a mahogany tree.

Some of the ferns, orchids and plants are not for sale. It is just for presentation and conservation purposes.

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Bulbophyllum cephalophorum- This species are found between 600 meters to more than 1,200 meters in elevation Nueva Viscaya, Nueva Ecija, Ifugao, Benguet and possibly Apayao province.

Interesting Orchids and Plants at Santa Fe Orchidarium

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anthuriums, aloe veras and ornamental plants were also for sale

One must be careful not to hoard orchids or plants, some of them cannot survive the hot lowland climate of Metro Manila.

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Dendrobium aphyllum grown in tree fern slabs

As much as possible to avoid buying tree fern slabs and its by-products, since the tree ferns takes long time to mature and an endangered species by authorities. Although according to the one manning the orchidarium, Most of the tree fern slabs are already dead and thus collected.

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Aeridres quinquevulnera with other native orchid species

Another common orchid species sold at the road side plant stalls were Dendrobium crumenatum or locally called dove/ pigeon orchid.

The flowers are fugacious, lasting only between 8 to 10 hours, looks like a flying dove or pigeon when closed.

Wrote a short article on the uses, ethno-botanical uses, superstitious beliefs on this orchid species. This is also widely sold and cultivated in many homes within Santa Fe.

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Cymbidium finlaysonianum, Coelogyne species, Dendrobium aphyllum

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The most common orchid species sold in Santa Fe were Dendrobium aphyllum, Dendrobium anosmum, Dendrobium crumenatum, Cymbidum finlaysonianum, Brachypeza pallida ,Brachypeza unguiculata, Renanthera storeii, Aerides quinquevulnera, Bulbophyllum, Cirrhopetalum species, Thrixspermum species, Phalaenopsis species among others.

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Cymbidium finlaysonianum, Dendrobium amethystoglossum and Renanthera storeii

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Pteroceras or Brachypeza longicalcareum and Micropera species

In our brief stop over, we were able to admire these plants and orchids. Some of them are in bloom , while majority of the orchids and plants do not have flowers.

Bibliographies, Sources,References:

CITES: https://www.cites.org/

Personal interview

Manual of Orchids, Stewart 1995

The Complete Writings on Philippine Orchids Vol 1 Quisumbing 1981

Philippine Orchid Review, Volume 15 No. 1 Traditional uses of the Dendrobium Orchids pages 13 to 17. ISSN 1908-871X

Orchids of the Philippines, Cootes Jim, Times Edition 2000

Folk Tales and Economic Usage of Bird’s Nest Fern in the Philippines

There are many folk tales and economic usage of the bird’s nest fern which collectively refers to three or four kinds of fern species found in the archipelago.

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Asplenium nidus grown on top of a big concrete vat (kawa)

Asplenium musifolium or Pakong Babae/ Pugad Lawin na Babae is one of the most common ferns in the market. The female one refers to the shape of the leaves. The Pakong babae has rounded leaftip in contrast to the more common Asplenium nidus or “Pakong Lalake” which has pointed leaf tip.

These are commonly in demand among landscapers and are planted en mass by ornamental plant farms.

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Asplenium musifolium

These two kinds of ferns are commonly used in landscaping projects and added accents to big trees, manicured gardens or palms.

While another Philippine bird’s nest fern which is sometimes called Asplenium leytensis have leaf tip much broader and rounder in shape compared to Asplenium musifolium.

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Drynaria quercifolia perch on top of an old rain tree / monkey pod tree (Albizia saman ) within Manila Chinese Cemetery

Some people refer Drynaria quercifolia is also referred to pakpak lawin, paypaymo or bird’s nest fern.

Folk Tales and Superstitious Beliefs

People in the bicol region would refer Asplenium nidus as Manalo/ Manalu. Some people believe that it brings wealth when place or planted near one’s entrance.  The light green leaves are symbol of money and positive energy.

Another tale is that it brings wealth to the owners, specially when grown lush and big.

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Asplenium nidus and Dischidia ionantha ( Manaog ka Irog)

fern sellers would use the roots of Drynaria quercifolia then mount Asplenium nidus and Dischidia ionantha.  These are commonly sold as hanging plants.

Economic Importance

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Asplenium nidus fronds for sale in Taiwan ( photo courtesy of Mr. Li Chen )

In Taiwan and parts of mainland China, Asplenium nidus fronds (It is pronounced shān sũ) are use for cooking.

The young fronds are typically cut into inch-long pieces, fried with garlic and chili peppers. Sometimes these are also sauteed with pieces of pork or beef meat.

There are also some reports in some parts of Batanes and northern Philippines, that locals would also eat the young fronds (although unverified).

Aside from incorporating these ferns into the landscape. Some growers mount orchids or other ferns together with Asplenium nidus– These create some sort of symbiotic relationship as fern roots provide additional moisture around the roots of orchids.

Fern roots can be sustainably harvested from time to time. Fern roots are gathered then boiled for about 15 to 20 minutes to remove the dirt and spores among other stuffs.

The fern roots are locally called (pasdak) can be use for planting media for orchids , hoyas and ferns.

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Status

DENR list Asplenium nidus ( Dapong Lalaki/ Pugad Lawin ), Asplenium vittaeforme and Drynaria quercifolia (Pakpak Lawin, Paypaymo, Paipaimo ) under local list of endangered species or vulnerable, It was even published at Wildlife Act R.A. 9147 as endangered species. When it is common species that is often encountered on big trees even within Metro Manila.

At one time, These fern species are so common, that even residents in Metro Manila would consider them as weeds. Some plant experts would disagree that these ferns must be excluded in the list, since these are quite common.

Note: Photos are taken by the author 

References:

Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Wildlife Act R.A. No. 9147: pages 172-199

Ohlsen DJ, Perrie LR, Shepherd LD, Brownsey PJ, Bayly MJ (2015). “Phylogeny of the fern family Aspleniaceae in Australasia and the south-western Pacific”. Australian Systematic Botany. 27 (6): 355–71.

Olsen, Sue, Encyclopedia of Garden Ferns, Timber Press, Incorporated (March 1, 2007) ISBN-10: 0881928194 and ISBN-13: 978-0881928198

Madulid, Dr. Domingo, A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plant, ( 1995) Book,Mark Inc. ( first edition): pages,21, 22 and 23.

Wee Yeow Chin, Ferns of the Tropics, July 1st 1998 by Timber Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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