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.

 

 

 

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 busigerum, 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

Lakad Pamana of Bustos , Bulacan

Bustos, Bulacan province-Philippines

I woke -up early around 3:30am took a bus ride to Baliwag bus station along EDSA . The bus that i rode did not stop at the Kamuning or Cubao area ( later the bus conductor told me that they will take the ilalim route -under the bridge route ) . The bus driver took us off at the Main street which is about 500 meters away from the station . So i took another bus north bound going to Cubao ( Baliwag bus station) . The bus ride was indeed a hell raising experience . The travel was less than 25 minutes south bound from Fairview/ Novaliches area.

. I met Mr. Philip Reyes ( blogger friend ) at the Baliwag Bus station  , He was there around past 4:30am and told me that the first bus left (The bus had a Baliwag town signage) .

I arrived past 4:50am and we waited until past 5:20 am for the next bus going to the town of Cabanatuan . ( with Plaridel town signage) . There were a lot of people waiting to ride the bus and We are quite fortunate to get a seat .  It took less than 10 minutes before the bus was filled-up and some commuters were even standing . The travel from Cubao to Plaridel is quite fast . We manage to arrive around 6:30am at the meet-up / pick -up area at the Waltermart -Plaridel .The usual travel time from Cubao to Plaridel is around 1 and 1/2 hours.

entrance arch

We were fetch by 2 vans on our way to the town of Bustos around past 7:00am . The group passed by the town of Baliuag then Bustos ( around 14.5 kilometers)  . It took us about 20minutes to reach the municipal hall grounds.

name tags

We were greeted by the municipal tourism guide and staffs, pre-registerd participants got their name plates with proper identification .

huge minasa cookie at the Bustos municipal park

LAS MINASAS GIGANTES represent the iconic and historical confection of Bustos,Bulacan,the MINASA,cookie conceived during the Spanish era at the time when the privileged families of the town built houses made of adobe using egg whites to glue the bricks together.

letras y figuras

Letra y Figuras a stone carving of the municipal’s name, “BUSTOS” in all caps, inspired by the intricate design of the Mercado Stone House , art of letter writing with floral with caricature designs and the people of Bustos’ most favorite finger food, Minasa. It was installed on April 7, 2014.

akalatan bayan ( town’s library )

There is a quaint town’s library that used to share an office with the municipal tourism office.  It had a unique  green roof.

Ambu – The town official mascot

Ambu is an acronym for Asenso Mamayan ng Bustos . This was conceived about 6 years ago and symbolizes by the hardworking , progressive and friendly nature of the town’s people. While Green is the adoptive color which means progressive an environmental consciousness efforts of the government .

 There is also a mini-zoo within the plaza, with reticulated python  , albino python and eagles .

commercial stalls

Within the municipal ground there is also an agro-commercial trade fair , where more than 100 stalls offering different kind of products from Bustos and nearby provinces .

Princess of nutrition 1989

This statue was installed to commemorate an event in 1989 where 14 students from 14 Bustos  barangays . They were able to realized to build Paraiso ng mga Bata during the incumbency of Mayor Pablito V. Mendoza and the sangguniang bayan led by Barangay Captain Martin Perez. The project was successfully initiated by Dra. Rosalinda F. Mendoza.

Conrado Mercado

Mr.Conrado C. Mercado Jr. –  hails from Bustos, Bulacan, Philippines. He was born on (October 20, 1945 – February 27, 2010) to parents Conrado, Sr., a civil engineer and to Conception nee Camacho, a former school teacher.

The youngest of three sons, Conrado is the only one who showed a penchant for the art. His entry into this field is by ni means an accident. He holds A Fine Arts degree from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila which has produced a long line of fine artists.

 cocoon -year 2001

He is the founding president of Figure Artists and chiefly instrumental in reviving the then-dormant Society of Philippine Sculptors in which he served as president from 1993 to 1998.

valley of the dolls- welded bronze 1993

close-up view of the art work

giraffes

Website: http://conradomercado.com/

There is also a battle memorial plaza ( Bulacan Military Area )  which commemorates the 1945 battle with the Japanese forces.

There is also an electronic time clock  timer which had a countdown time in time for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bustos.

post office branch

There is also a small post office with some old P.O. boxes and letter box near the municipal town hall. Since it was sunday , The post office is close.

native orchids like Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay ) Dendrobium aphyllum ( lesser or fairy sanggumay ) and native ferns

Our group got a short private tour within the house of the mother of the current town’s mayor which is located near the town hall.

cacti collection

large tarpaulin poster within the municipal grounds

There are several large tarpaulin poster within the town’s main plaza advertising the calendar of events and activities .

Here is the official video uploaded by the Bustos Municipal government

We took a quick walk around the municipal town hall , post office, Zeny’s Minasa, Pan de Bustos and we were welcomed by the mother of the current town’s mayor .

Mayor Arnel F. Mendoza 

Mayor Arnel Mendoza and Ms. Aprille Keith Lazaro ( member of sanggunian bayan  and chairperson of the tourism council ) gave a short welcome speech and gave a short history of the town and various projects.

Bustos tourism office and museum

We were also one of the first group of people who witness the formal opening of the newly constructed Bustos Tourism and Museum .

group photo

Please Visit :

Lakad Pamana of Bustos, Bulacan  Part 2 : https://renz15.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/lakad-pamana-of-bustos-bulacan-part-2/

Website: http://bulacan.gov.ph/bustos/index.php

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bustos.gov

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