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

Advertisements

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.

 

 

 

Fairy Sanggumays Flowering in the City:

Antipolo City – Rizal province ,  Philippines

fairy sanggumays mounted on a living mango tree ( photo credit  :  Architect Patricia ” Wendy” Fernando- Regalado

fairy sanggumay, dainty sanggumay, lesser sanggumay, purple rain shower orchid, salome, cow hooded orchid or simply called sanggumays ! These pendulous and deciduous -type of orchid bloom are a big ” welcome” to the height of summer heat and Easter holiday. They are called Dendrobium aphyllum or Dendrobium cucullatum depending on the orchid authorities.

Architect Patricia” Wendy ” Fernando -Regalado together with her orchids within their residence in Antipolo, Rizal province ( photo credit )

closer view of the orchid with flowers  ( photo credit: Architect  Patrica ” Wendy” Fernando- Regalado)

One can estimate that there were several thousand of flowers  producing  cascading -type or shower -like effect to the landscape. The owner is a certified architect and a landscaper which explains the beautifully arranged orchid  mounted to the mango tree. According to her , They probably grown this orchid species from some clumps about 5 or 6 years ago , dividing them once in a while , While the keikis  ( orchid plantlets / suhi/ anaks ) where also attached to the mango tree, adding more  orchids to the tree ! The mango tree is about two- decade or so -old.

Dendrobium aphyllum or Dendrobium cucullatum grown on this jack-fruit tree ( photo credit: Mr. Edward Ines Agdeppa )

Another friend who lives in Fairview area, Quezon City attached his fairy sanggumays to a jackfruit tree  (langka / nangka ) which he bought at the sunday market some years ago, mounting them on several branches . Now , the jack fruit tree is laden with fruits and flowers from the orchid.

dainty sanggumay blooming in Paete , Laguna ( photo credit: Mr. Hans-Blooming Vanda )

 flowering dainty sanggumay in our backyard

same clump

This clump had about 350 flowers with its almost 2 -meter long canes / pseudo-bulbs.

a smaller clump, with blooms !

This blooming orchid was attached to a different Mac Arthur palm facing north- east position. This clump had about 50 flowers .

our version of the cascading effect

We are expecting more clumps and more blooms in 2015 flowering season. This orchid species had a faint smell unlike its Dendrobium anosmum cousin.

close-up view of the flower

Note: This orchid species is easy to grow under Philippine condition.   Try to grow them as clumps in one tree or several trees to give a shower or curtain -like effect during its blooming season .  Try to give them an ample “rest period ” drying period once their growth have matured by November and December . You can surely expect them blooming by February , March , April or even May. It depends on what part of the archipelago that you live, some have a very short dry period , while some areas had almost no dry period .

Website links: http://www.orchidspecies.com/dendaphyllum.htm

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/dendrobium-aphyllum

http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/229453