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

Dendrobium aphyllum in our backyard blooming after a freak weather

Quezon City-Philippines

This is part of our small garden where i have mounted some of the Dendrobium aphyllum that i have collected in many parts of the country .

It is almost the beginning of the dry period . The last major rains we got was several weeks ago when Typhoon Koppu ( Bagyong Lando ) gave at least 2 to 3 days of rains.

Dendrobium aphyllum ( Marikina clone )

My last application of slow release fertilizer was on the middle part of September and I think most of them will eventually release all their nutrients by late November . I started  to water less and apply 10N-30P-30K water soluble fertilizer ( diluted into 1/4 of the recommended strength ) . This is to help strengthened the pseudo bulbs ( canes) . Planning to do this on bi-weekly basis until the end of November . Just enough to aid the maturing canes.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA according to their weather bulletin that Northwest Monsoon ( Amihan )  had  begun early October and will last until early February 2016. It had made a weather advisory dated October PAG-ASA climate advisories that a strong El Niño.

Website: https://web.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/

I got a mix emotion with regards to the advisory by the weather bureau . It means that there will be shorter canes compared last year but much earlier and maybe more blooms for these orchid species by 2016.

Dendrobium aphyllum with Phalaenopsis X Intermedia

Some of the Dendrobium aphyllum canes are slowly maturing , their upper leaves are slowly turning into yellow and are falling off the pseudobulb. A lot of the older canes are between 100cm to 150cm long . The other much larger specimen failed  to grow more than 150cm  which indicate that we got lesser rainfall and humidity compared to last year.

Dendrobium aphyllum ( Laguna and Quezon  province)

Another problem was the insect infestation ( probably caterpillars of butterflies or moths ) which ate the youngest leaves and pseudo-bulbs .  Then a mild fungal infection on young leaves, I was away for several days and i could not do anything with the infestation.  Just applied a mild fungal mixture and sprayed them on the orchids when i came back .  We also tried to withhold watering for several days.

Phalaenopsis X Intermedia

Some of our neighbors are probably inspired or amazed by the number of orchids attached to the palms that some of them are asking our growing techniques . I think there is no such secret for growing these orchid very luxuriantly . We just observed proper fertilization techniques and ideal growing conditions for these lovely orchid species.

Phalaenopsis X Intermedia

Phalaenopsis X Intermedia started to bloom. We have mounted some of them in Macarthur palm .

Ethno-Botanical Importance:

According to some old folks ( Bicol and Quezon ) the orchid flowers of Phalaenopsis X Intermedia are gathered preferably late afternoon before dusk around 5:00pm ( between 7 to 8 flowers) soak them in 1 glass of drinking water for the entire night  so that the potency of flowers will be absorbed by the water and drinking them to heal fatigue or for body ache the following day , just before eating anything .

Another herb specialist ( herbalista- from Samar ) told me that they also used some of the flowers to ward-off evil spirits which lingers in one abode. He even tried to encourage people to grow more of this orchid . I never tried to ask them on the procedure but it seems that they preferred live orchids .

 Mama Nene’s Garden  shared her experience with regards to the potency of the flowers which help her felt relief and rejuvenated.

Link to previous post: Phalaenopsis x intermedia in our backyard

Dendrobium aphyllum with inflorescence

The photo above was fairy sanggumay with some inflorescence  despite that there are still leaves intact. i was suspecting that it must be a freak weather pattern that induced this orchid to bloom without shedding their leaves.

This is one of the most commonly traded orchid species during garden shows, sunday market and favorite among local landscapers and backyard orchid hobbyists .

They are commonly called sanggumays, fairy sanggumay, dainty sanggumay , salome among others.

Here are some of the previous article links that i wrote about Dendrobium aphyllum. 

Dendrobium cucullatum flowering in our garden

Fairy sanggumay blooming in our garden

Fairy sanggumays flowering in the city

Phalaenopsis X intermedia in our backyard

My mother, aunts, grandmother maternal side are very fond of  growing orchids. However they are all partial to man-made hybrids.  Genus  like Semi-Terete Vandas, Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Spathoglottis were their favorites  .  For some native orchid species  like Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay)  , Phalaenopsis x intermedia among others. They also like them since they have large blooms and powerful scent.

Phalaenopsis X intermedia

Growing butterfly orchids  is uncommon in our place. We lived in a subdivision with a lot of garden spaces . Most orchid growers prefer long lasting and big flowering orchids ! We have acquired our first butterfly orchids when i was still  in grade school. There are some ambulant orchid vendors  every Wednesday or weekends which are selling native orchids and hybrids near the church of Our Lady of Mercy in the heart of Novaliches town proper. Some of them sourced their orchids from Baclaran, Manila Seedling Bank, Bulacan province .

butterfly orchids

Most people call Phalaenopsis X INTERMEDIA  orchid as butterfly or moth orchids ( a natural hybrid with a lot of color variations )  .  Their flowers are quite small  2.5 inches or about 7 cm  . BUT they are pretty especially if grown into a specimen sized – flowering plants.  Some specimen- sized butterfly orchids can bloom for several months with dozens or even hundreds of flowers per spike.  I have bought a much bigger Phalaenopsis aphrodite at a weekend market several years ago. The orchid is blooming a lot and had several keikis .

a neighbor with lots of dancing lady orchids grown at their backyard and mounted on their palm

Until a very unfortunate event last year when our neighbor began their construction of a 3 or 4 story warehouse/ residential area which increased their perimeter walls several stories high . When the construction workers began pouring cement mixture,  Most of our orchids , ferns , hoyas which are now specimen- sized were the first casualties !!!! OMG. When i reach home  at nigh-time, We could not save all of those orchids and plants.

We only managed to salvage some of the orchids and hoyas. Eventually most of the orchids , ferns and hoyas died due to the cement mixture .

We still manage to save some of the Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay) Dendrobium cucullatum ( fairy sanggumay ) but i must say that we lost more than 100 specimen -sized clumps due to the pouring of cement mixture. Tsk Tsk Tsk ….  Some of those orchids were bought from different weekend  or flea markets in the city and some provinces that we visited..   As a good neighbor –  We keep on reminding the foreman and even the owners of what happened.  It seems it fell on a deaf ears !

I just transferred the remaining butterfly orchids on a palm tree and tried to cover the roots with fern roots ( pasdak ) in order to retain the moisture and sprayed some fungicide before the onset of the rainy season.  The shady palm fronts help deflect the excess rain water and wind.  after several weeks and months – The butterfly orchid roots slowly enveloped  the palm trunk and the straw rope use for mounting the orchids had rotted away.

I began the twice a week,  application of 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer a month ( normally i only apply 1/4 of the package  recommendation) .   We also water our orchids with  fresh rice washings  ( hugas- bigas) often delegated to my mom or sister.

After several more months, We were rewarded with the beautiful spikes and dainty white with splashes of yellow at the mid-lobe flowers !!!

locally called butterfly or moth orchid- The flowers resembles butterflies or moths in flight

This orchid species although quite common in the provinces is slowly getting very hard to come across in our locality . Most housewives and orchid growers prefer the hybrids rather than growing the species.  Majority of them would have a  smear remark ” Native Lang Iyan at Maliit and mga Bulaklak” They are Native and Their Flowers are Small  .  But i guess they never knew if i tell them that most modern orchid hybrids can trace their lineage to our small and native orchid species. !!!!!

Much of our orchid collections are gone , but what still remain are a treasure to behold.

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