Enchanting Blooms of the Fairy Sanggumay

Fairy Sanggumay is also known as dainty sanggumay, lesser sanggumay, salome, latigo, pink purple rain, hooded orchid and cow lip orchid in the Philippines.

Scientifically called Dendrobium aphyllum, This is one of the most common orchids grown in homes, resorts, farms and used as landscape to accentuate old trees.

There is a faint smell and the small size flowers does not last long under Metro Manila conditions. However when grown en mass, this orchid species can give a spectacular display during its blooming season.

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Dendrobium aphyllum grown in a jackfruit tree

Some growers are quite enchanted in growing this orchid species in other parts of Asia like Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, China and are grown en mass.  They believe that it bring good luck to the growers and attracts good chi to their businesses or property.

Origin of the names: Fairy, Dainty or Lesser Sanggumays

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Dendrobium aphyllum clump grown in Nueva Viscaya

Ordinary backyard hobbyists would refer this under different common names, fairy sanggumays because they looked like miniature fairies flying or dainty sanggumays orchids since they are pale in color.

Some growers would also call this as “lesser sanggumay”  since their flowers are not that big and not stenchy compared to the larger and more pungent smelling Dendrobium anosmum.

Sanggumays got its root word from two Tagalog words, ” Sangsang” – which means nauseating ,overpowering, stench (smell), putrid and “Umay” or ” Gumay”  meaning tired-some, surfeit , satiety.

Some backyard growers would also refer some pendulous types of orchid species like Dendrobium heterocarpum, Dendrobium rhombeum, Dendrobium bullenianum collectively as sanggumays.

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Dendrobium aphyllum mounted on a macopa tree

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Dendrobium aphyllum naturalized in a mango tree

In several decades of growing this orchid species, We notice that this prefer host trees with rough bark like duhat, mango, talisay, chico, caimito, jack fruit, lansones, acacia and macopa. This also prefers coconut and manila palm.

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Dendrobium aphyllum bigger sepals and petal and roundish lip

Dendrobium aphyllum that was given to the author by Mrs. Adelina Almirol from Marikina few years ago in 2014 with rather large lip, roundish petals and sepals. Which makes this type an outstanding clone.

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Dendrobium aphyllum naturalized on to a mahogany tree in Santa Fe, Nueva Viscaya

Fertilization and Care

Try to put a small amount of slow release fertilizer during its growing season sewn into a small cloth then alternating a fertilization program with a doze of water soluble fertilizer 20N-20P-20K diluted into 1/4 of the strength, micro-nutrient, epsom salt and calcium two weeks after blooming until past September or October. We change fertilizer formulation to 10N- 30P-30K during late- September to mid-November to make the pseudobulb/ stems stronger and in preparation for its rest and blooming season.

Another way to grow this orchid species is by mounting them on to an Asplenium nidus or Asplenium musifolium. These fern species can be a perfect symbiotic relationship with these orchid species. the fern’s black roots can hold some moisture for a longer time.

Watering is gradually reduced to a minimum from late December until early February when the cold season or dry season starts.

One can be rewarded with these dainty blooms or the fairy sanggumay in the next blooming season.

Happy Growing !!!

Sources and References:

Kew Garden of Life : Catalog of Life

Personal communication with growers

A Guide to the Dendrobium of the Philippines, Cootes and Tiong 2015

Philippine Native Orchid Species, Cootes, 2009

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

Summer Blooms of Fairy Sanggumay

Fairy, dainty, lesser sanggumay season usher in the start of the summer or dry season in the country. Scientific name is Dendrobium aphyllum. The flowering season of this species overlap with Dendrobium anosmum or sanggumay.

Origin of the Name

This orchid species is popularly called fairy sanggumay, dainty sanggumay, lesser sanggumay, salome, latigo among others.  It is more popularly called as fairy or dainty sanggumay because the flowers looks like miniature fairies with wings flying in one’s garden. Or dainty flowering orchids. The shape, size and smell is less pungent compared to Dendrobium anosmum. Hence, locals would also refer this as lesser sanggumay.

Chef Paulo Castillo Fuentes from Angono, Rizal province recounted that they bought 3 big clumps of Dendrobium aphyllum at a sunday market, divided some of the orchids then mounted them on live alagao/ alagaw tree. He hope that within 2 to 3 years time, these orchid can make an spectacular display of blooms.

He is also a cake, artist, event stylist, florist, plant and orchid enthusiast too.

Dendrobium aphyllum blooming at the farm of Mr. Mac Pagsoligan from Pangasinan.

Mr. Mac Pagsolingan started growing these types of orchid species several years ago. according to him, there were massive blooms last year.

He would grew them with charcoal, kakawate wood on plastic pots. Adding slow release fertilizer to boost the growth during the growing season and would also apply water soluble fertilizers.

Mr. Mac Pagsolingan 0917-5505473 at Centris Sunday Market plant section or try to visit his booth at the upcoming Grow and Show within Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center from April 26 to 28, 2019.

Orchid Range and Classification

Dendrobium aphyllum is one of the top 10 commonly cultivated native orchids in the country. This orchid species can be found from India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Hainan China, Assam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Andaman islands, Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, parts of northern Australia and Philippines.

Dendrobium aphyllum more than 200 cm long

Classification

This orchid grows well in lowland and up to 1,800 meters in elevation. The species was discovered by Sir William Roxburgh in southern parts of  India and described in his book Plants of the Coast of Coromandel in 1795. During most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Dendrobium aphyllum was best known as Dendrobium pierardi or Dendrobium cucullatum which confuses a lot of orchid growers and even orchid experts.

This only came into general use after 1985, when the influential Danish botanist Gunnar Seidenfaden confirmed, albeit with some reservations, that this was the same species that people were growing as Dendrobium pierardii. Gradually, the name Dendrobium aphyllum has come back into use and is the accepted name. It will take at least a decade or so before local orchid growers would refer this as Dendrobium aphyllum.

There were two or three minor forms and an alba form of this species where reported in some parts of Asia. Some orchid experts in the Philippines thought that this orchid species got naturalized, since there were some local orchid growers who imported some orchids from Bangkok, Thailand in the 1960’s. This was resolved when local botanists and taxonomists have seen them growing wild in some parts of the country.

Dendrobium aphyllum with hundreds of flowers

This orchid species was not mentioned in the book authored by Mr. Andres Golamco ( Philippines’ Book on Orchids) when it was published in 1991. He must have omitted this wonderful species by not including this lovely species in the book.  This is a common species which are sold during orchid shows and found in many garden centers.

Plant is an epiphytic orchid and sometimes lithophytic with clustered, cane-like, overhanging to pendulous stems of 20cm to over 200 cm long.

This orchid species is also commonly sold in Sunday market in Quezon City and plant centers. IUCN classify this orchid species as LEAST Concern.

Dendrobium aphyllum grown by Chef Paulo Castillo-Fuentes

Superstitious Belief

Dendrobium aphyllum is grown in many areas of the country. It is grown primarily due to its beauty and landscaping value. It is normally attached to large trees, palms and fruit bearing trees like mangoes, lansones (Lansium parasiticum ), sapodilla (chico), duhat, caimito, jackfruit (langka) and guava.

Some people believe that having large clumps of these species can ward off unseen spirits. While some believes that having such orchids in one’s garden can attract good chi.

Some Filipino-Chinese have different beliefs, A friend would consider these orchid species as bad luck since they grow downwards. While another friend would consider them as good luck.

When we visited the province of Quezon. local orchid trader told us that the Dumagats/ Aeta would use the stems of Dendrobium aphyllum as material for weaving small trinkets several years ago, along with Dendrobium anosmum, Dendrobium crumenatum and Cymbidium finlaysonianum.

 

Care and Fertilization

I would recommend to secure these orchid species on a living tree (or mounting them on a tree slab). Try to prune the tree so that enough sunlight can reach its lower trunk. Put between 20 to 30 pieces slow release fertilizer ( 20N-20P-20K), and try to fertilize the orchid at least one a week with any water soluble fertilizer. Calcium nitrate, trace elements, boron and epsom salt ( at least once every 2 weeks) during its growing season. (Normally from late March to mid-November in western parts of the country). Do not forget to flush the orchid periodically with ordinary tap water to remove excess salt accumulation of fertilizers.

One can change the fertilize formulation when the rainy season starts to taper off in western parts of the country by late September or early October. Try to start fertilizing the orchid with high potassium and phosphate around late September ( 10N-30P-30K) until late November.

Try to observe change in weather pattern by watering less often by mid-November or when the onset of dry season and arrival of the Northeast monsoon (Amihan). Cool winds coming from mainland China and Russia.

Remember that this orchid species requires some drying and losing some of its leaves before it can flower.

One will be rewarded with hundreds of beautiful blooms once the blooming season start the following year.

Photos courtesy of  Chef Paulo Castillo Fuentes and Mr. Mac Pagsolingan

Sources and References:

Kew Garden of Life : Catalog of Life

Personal communication with growers

A Guide to the Dendrobium of the Philippines, Cootes and Tiong 2015

Philippine Native Orchid Species, Cootes, 2009

Philippines’ Book on Orchids , Andres Golamco and Jemma 1990 ISBN 971-8636-54-4

Exuberance Blooms of Dainty Sanggumay

Exuberance blooms of dainty sanggumay, fairy sanggumay , lesser sanggumay  or Dendrobium aphyllum . This orchid species got over 120 flowers opening slowly from late March to April . This is the first time in about 3 years of growing this cultivar variety from Mrs. Adelina Almerol that we were rewarded with this number of blooms. This maybe due to several factors: larger clumps means more flowers , drier conditions ( not watering for weeks ) and good air circulation and fertilization techniques .

Dendrobium aphyllum with over 120 light pink sepals with yellowish- lip flowers

I got a few keikis ( anaks, suhi , offsets ) from Mrs. Adelina Almerol from Marikina City way back in March 1, 2014 when Pinoy Coke Fanatics hosted an eyeball for their members . Mrs. Almerol told me that the orchids she got was from Pangasinan and she grew them from a few keikis for several years.

Dendrobium aphyllum grown about 10 feet from the ground

After about 2 weeks after late March 2014 , one of the smaller keikis gave us 1 bloom which gave us a hint on the size of the orchid species . Some of the keikis eventually grew long canes and i gave few keikis to some orchid hobbyists . The color form and shape of the flowers is bigger than the usual Dendrobium aphyllum, so the author gave this Dendrobium aphyllum a cultivar name of ” Adelina Almerol ” in honor of the owner of the clump.

This particular orchid got an untimely blooms around last December 2016 and early January 2017, with about 3 to 4 flowers.

There were over 120 flowers bore on several mature pseudobulbs creating a shower-like effect or shower / curtain effect .

Common Names: People would call this under numerous names, the most common is sanggumay . To be more specific – due to the smaller pseudobulbs and smaller flowers , They would refer this one as dainty , fairy or lesser sanggumay in reference to the thinner canes and smaller flowers.

This is one of the most commonly grown orchid species in the country .

Since the pseudobulbs are mature and we got a bigger clump , we expect the next blooming season ( 2018 ) will be more.

 

 

 

Untimely Bloom of Dendrobium aphyllum in our backyard

Untimely bloom of our Dendrobium aphyllum for the second straight year , The orchid  species was originally came from the garden of Mrs. Adelina Almerol from Marikina City .

In  this time of the year , the orchid species should at least completed more than 1 month of dry treatment ,misting them only once every few days . But a change of weather from dry to a bit rainy , delayed the shedding of its leaves . It also rained a little bit last December 26, 27 and a slight drizzle on December 30 , 2016 . I must say that this is quite an early bloomer for an orchid species which had a blooming season of late February to mid-March .

Dendrobium aphyllum with only two flowers

Only few leaves from the older canes had shed their leaves . Some of the newer pseudo bulbs ( canes) are growing and some still had leaves . Although we expect another season of less flowers and more keikis ( anaks ) to follow.

Dendrobium aphyllum with long pseudobulbs still with leaves

I completely stopped any form of fertilization since early part of November 2016 .  We also got a mild fungus infection  which cause some pseudo bulbs to get rotted away .

For those healthy pseudo-bulbs . We were rewarded with longer canes .Some of the pseudo bulbs from more establish clumps had grown to about 150 cm from an average of just 100 cm to 120 cm the previous year .

Since we got a short dry season and erratic weather condition. Expecting a lot of keikis again from the older canes. For more of the orchid pest and diseases try this link .