Blooms of Vanda Lamellata in our Backyard

Vanda lamellata is one of the most common native vandas and orchid in the country. It used to be commonly cultivated in many homes in northern parts of Metro Manila and in the provinces about 10 or 20 years ago.

Vanda lamellata, Dendrobium crumenatum ( dove / pigeon orchid), Cymbidium finlaysonianum, Aerides quinquevulnera , Phalaenopsis X Intermedia , Dendrobium anosmum and Dendrobium aphyllum (sanggumay, salome, lesser sanggumay, fairy sanggumay, dainty sanggumay , latigo) are just some of the native orchids which are regularly collected by native Aetas in the foothills of Sierra Madre range.

Some are found growing semi-naturalized in coconut plantations, acacia and fruit trees like macopa, mango trees, lansones, jack fruit among others.

While Vanda lamellata also found growing on limestone cliff, mangroves and lowland trees.

Vanda Lamellata

Vanda lamellata orchid is sometimes called mango orchid, since it is often seen growing in old mango trees, tamarid and even in large acacia trees.

Despite having small flowers, a grower is compensated for having a wonderful citrus smell. This is commonly peddled by ambulant vendors in many parts of Metro Manila and in surrounding provinces by inserting large Vanda or Mokara flowers.

They would trick some unsuspecting buyer believing that the Vanda is of hybrid origin and thus commanding higher prices.

Vanda lamellata attached to a Christmas palm by the author

This orchid species is found over a wide range of habitat from southern Ryukyus islands, Taiwan, Orchid island , Batanes, Marianas, Philippines and even in Borneo. The orchid thrives in high lighted areas or in full sun near the sea on cliffs or coastal beach forests on branches and tree trunks occuring at elevations of sea level to 300 meters.

There are different types or flower forms of these wonderful Vanda species. Among the highly collected ones are Vanda lamellata variety debutante, Vanda lamellata var. boxallii ( which is also found in Taiwan and Ryukus islands of Japan) Vanda lamellata var. calayana Valmayor & D.Tiu 1983, found in Babuyan and Calayan group of islands. Vanda lamellata var remediosae Ames & Quis. 1933 originally found in Southern parts of the country like Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan. Vanda lamellata variety flava is yellowish type, This type is highly coveted among orchid collectors since it is rare in cultivation.

There are different range of color forms and markings of Vanda lamellata.

Sources, References and Bibliographies:

The Complete Writings on Philippine Orchids Quisumbing

Orchidiana Philipiniana Vol 1 Valmayor 1984

The Orchids of the Philippines Cootes

Philippine Orchids by Reg S. Davis and Mona Liza Steiner, Vanda lamellata pages 225 to 227

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

Pigeon Orchid Blooming within the Neighborhood

Dendrobium crumenatum is locally known as Pigeon, Dove, Sparrow,Purse-Shaped orchid. This orchid is called White Sanggumay in some parts of General Nakar, Quezon province. Sometimes, they are also called One- day orchid since they only bloom early part of the morning and close its flowers by late afternoon.

Classification:

This orchid species is one of the first orchid species described by Olof Peter Swartz a Swedish botanist and taxonomist in (1799). This is under the section “Crumenata“. The center of distribution is in the island of Borneo with at least 25 species.

The orchid had leaves on a sheathing base and pseudobulbs or stems which are fleshy for 1 to 3 internodes only. Species are mostly lowland.

The characteristics of this section are the flowers are mostly fugacious, bloom several times of the year and triggered by sudden drop or change in temperatures.

dove-orchid

pigeon or dove orchid naturalized on Christmas palm

This type of orchid species is one of the most commonly grown orchids in any parts of the country. The flowers look like dove , pigeon or sparrow in flight when this orchid is in bloom, hence its common name.

It was very hot during the last part of November, then a sudden downpour of rain which may have triggered the blooming of this orchid species.

Some neighbors do not like growing this type of orchid, since the flowers are fugacious and would only last 1 day. When grown en mass, they can be a spectacle especially when the entire host tree would be covered by their fragrant white blooms.

dendrobium-crumenatum

Dendrobium crumenatum with seed pods

Some people believes that these orchid bring good fortune and warding off unseen spirits especially when grown near the entrance or main door. Especially those in Laguna, Quezon, Bicol and Samar provinces.

The side lobes are erect and the middle lobe is rounded with five yellow ridges. Flowering is sporadic but is triggered nine days after a sudden drop in temperature normally triggered by sudden change of temperatures. This flowers several times a year. This clump is observe to bloom at least 3 to 5 times a year.

The flowers are naturally pollinated by carpenter bees, honey bees (Apis cerana) and  wasps which are common within the locality.

This orchid species used to be planted in almost every homes within the subdivision until few years ago, when some of the older neighbors grew tried of growing this type of orchid species. Some would prefer Dendrobium or Vanda hybrids which had larger flowers and can last for several days or even weeks.

Now, only few homes had these types of orchid species. But what still remains are still exciting to behold especially when they are in bloom.

Natural Range

It is found in parts of India, Southern China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia,Taiwan,Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Christmas Island and Philippines.

In the Philippines, This is reported in almost all the provinces and have been found in many coastal towns and coconut plantations. This orchid can be found growing along mangroves and coastal areas up to more than 700 meters in elevation.

It is reportedly naturalized in Guam,Northern Marianas, Fiji, Hawaii,West Indies, Puerto Rico and even parts of Florida.

Ethono-botanical Uses and Importance

Medicinal: The leaf poultice applied to pimples and boils by Malays and Indonesians. Juice from swollen pseudo bulbs used as ear drops to treat earache. Common name Daun Sepulih Tulang (Bone Restoring Leaf) suggests use as treatment for bone-related ailments.

Some Aeta communities in the Philippines would also use its leaves to cure indigestion.

In Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the stems the pounded and boiled for several minutes then the resulting concoctions are use to remove impurities from the blood.

Products: Stem fibers used to make braiding materials for hats, hand bracelets and baskets in Philippines.

Cultural: Planted near entrance of house in some Malaysian states and parts of the Philippines as a good-luck orchid to ward off evil spirits from entering house.

Economic: They are also commonly sold in the country for landscaping and decorations in almost all garden centers and weekend markets.

Status: This is one of the common orchid sold in the market.

Modus Operandi by Unscrupulous Seller and Ambulant Vendors

dendrobium-crumenatum2

Photo courtesy : Ms. Surya Namaskar

 Some unscrupulous ambulant orchid vendor and orchid sellers would sometimes insert Dendrobium flowers or Vanda flowers to the stems of this orchid just to increase the value of the orchid by at least 2 or 3 fold.

Unsuspecting buyers or those unfamiliar with this orchid may not suspect about being duped by the seller.  The flowers in the above photo were dyed with different colors creating a new artificial hybrid ( with interesting colors) . This is a common deception to lure buyers and sell the orchid at higher price. The practice started in the late 1970’s and still goes on.

Lack of police enforcement would only lead ambulant vendors to ply their trade from one place to another.

Sources, References and Bibliography:

1.) A Guide to the Dendrobium of the Philippines Cootes and Tiong 2015, page 48

2.) Personal communication with growers and buyers

3.) FB Orchid and Plant Lovers of the Philippines

4.) Goh CJ, Strauss MS, Arditti J (1982) Floral Induction and Physiology in Or-
chids. In: Arditti J (Ed)Orchid Biology: Reviews and Prospectives
(Vol II) Cornell University Press, Ithaca, pp 213-241
5. ) Hempel FD, Welch DR, Feldman LJ(2000) Floral induction and determina-
tion: where is flowering controlled?Trends in Plant Science5
, 17-21.
6.) The Complete Writings on Philippine Orchids Vol 1 Quisumbing 1981
7.) Orchidiana Philippiana Vol 1 Valmayor 1984
8.) Philippine Orchid Review, Volume 15 No. 1 Traditional uses of the Dendrobium Orchids pages 13 to 17. ISSN 1908-871X
9.) Philippine Orchids, Reg S. Davis and Mona Liza Steiner (1952) , Pages 115 to 119
10.) Wee, Y. C., 2007. Memories. In: Lum, S. K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & Y. C. Wee (eds.), Trees of the Bukit Timah Campus: A Tribute to Old Friends. National University of Singapore and Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. Pp.114–117.

Expedition trip to General Nakar, Quezon

I was informed that the Philippine Orchid Society may send 3 representative together with staffs from Manila Orchidarium ( Clean and Green Foundation), SMART Communications to do an initial survey of Barangay San Marcelino within the General Nakar area in Quezon .

Last August 18, during the POS monthly meeting in Mr. Modesto ” Mody” Manglicmot garden within UP Diliman . We were asked to join the so called expedition which is set on August 20 to August 21 (2 days) . Mr. Dennis Sy, Ms. Tina Narzo and I were the volunteers coming from the POS side.

I was quite hesitant  to go , since the publicity and promotion for the forthcoming show is already more than  1 week delayed due to cancellation of classes and office .

the group

August 20, I was already within the MSBF compound as early as 6 am , Most of the group arrived more than 1 hour later. We  rode several  hours passing scenic towns, mountains and road stalls before  our group arrived way past 1pm and the town mayor had treated our group a lunch then we quickly rode a small motorized boat on the way to the San Marcelino area of Gen. Nakar , We went from the mouth of the river to the Pacific Ocean side of the town .

mouth of the river flowing to the Pacific ocean

Our group saw flying fishes and sea weeds on our way, It took us over 1 hour to get to the site since the boat is not moving fast due to the waves. We arrived way past 2pm in the old poblacion area of Gen. Nakar which was destroyed by the landslide in 2004 due to the effect of two bagyo.  Typhoon Muifa and Nanmadol. Virtually the entire town were buried under several feet of mud and big boulders .The flash floods brought down logs from the surrounding mountain while the river had even changed its course !

big logs were left on dry river beds

Our group had saw large logs and house foundations still left as an eerie reminder of what had happened several years ago. According to our guide , Before the disaster in 2004 the area was very beautiful and there were lots of people  with blooming orchids,ornamental plants and nice quaint houses.

Dendrobium crumenatum (locally called white sanggumay )

A few hundred of meters away from the old town , we saw several dead trees which were covered with some common orchid species like Dendobium crumenatum , Liparis, Hoya bilobata, Hoya incrassata ,Bulbophyllum makoyanum , Platycerium coronarium ,weed ferns and an unidentifed Vanilla species !

Vanilla species growing on a tree just several meters away from the shoreline

We had met a lot of nice people and they told us that we were the ones who appreciate their garden and local species, Some people were even curious that we were speaking a weird language which are the  scientific names of these plants!

Even the local names of the orchids and plants were all mixed -up since they only rely from the Dumagats for the names of the plants, orchid species like Dendrobium crumenatum which is called   as dove, pigeon or 1 day orchid  in Metro Manila  were called sanggumay by the local people . Sanggumay is called Dendrobium anosmum here in Metro Manila , Renanthera philippinensis is locally called “Red Waling-waling ” . But since local names were given by the  people ,we are not in a position to correct them , Our group just got the names of the orchids, plants and trees for our reference .

Nepenthes alata (pitcher plant) green variety

It is a settled area and there were no electricity and we just got our drinking water from dug spring , Just simple amenities would do, Even cellphone signals were virtually out! This is due  to the mountain ranges and lack of communication tower .

Syzygium polyephalum ( lipote, balig-ang)

We picked several fruits like guavas , pomelo , lipote ( Balig-ang in Bikol) , bananas , santol . The local people sometimes gave it to our group, edible ferns also abound within the area.

Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax)

There is a tamed  Rufous horn bill (kalaw) perched on a coconut tree. The group saw some sun birds- pollinator of flowers , Philippine hanging parakeet (kolasisi )  , kite and Malayan fantails.

At the end of the second day , The group had counted about 35 species of orchids , 6 species of hoyas and dischidias , 40 species of ferns, 2 dozen native trees, dozen kinds of cut foliage plants, 3-5 species of ginger plant (curcuma, kamia), an epiphytic begonia, 2 species of nepenthes ( pitcher plant) and had a chance to see the World’s Largest Orchid in flower ! Grammatophyllum wallisii and  fond memories of the people living in the area.

Grammatophyllum wallisii

Despite of poverty ,the people had treated us very-well ! there are signs that the place is slowly recovering from the destruction .

Some of the group had a chance to take a bath with the beach. the water is not that salty compared to the rest of the sea side beaches. This was attributed that there are a lot of small streams, rivers and creeks which empty the Pacific ocean.

and some  of us had got “Batong Buhay” as some sort of souvenir from the place!

Paging.. Mrs. Gupit -Natural Stone Society !!!!! We might sign up as members of the society… Hehehehe

The group reported out preliminary expedition details to the town mayor for further evaluation . This would also give an idea on what sort of plants that could be massed propagated for livelihood projects of the town.

To the people and Mayor of General Nakar -Mr.Leovegildo R. Ruzol , Thanks!

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