Summer Blooms of Dendrobium aphyllum 2021

Summer season or dry season in western part of the country was officially declared by the weather bureau. It is when day time temperature would reach between 33 to 36 degrees Celsius or more.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in a statement on Friday March 26, 2021 that the “gradual shift of wind direction from northeasterly to easterly over most parts of the country” signified the end of the northeast monsoon.

Dendrobium aphyllum aka fairy, dainty, lesser sanggumay grown on a palm for almost 7 years

Summer Blooms of Dendrobium aphyllum

Dendrobium aphyllum locally known as dainty sanggumay, fairy sanggumay, lesser sanggumay, sanggumay, salome, latigo among others blooming season. It was incorrectly called Dendrobium pierardii or Dendrobium cucullatum for a long time by orchid hobbyists.

This is one of the most common Dendrobium orchid species that is found in many parts of the country. The orchid species can be naturalize in fruits trees like duhat, mango, lansones, macopa, jackfruit, guava, coconut and Manila palms.

Since it rained a few times during its rest period from mid-November 2020 to early part of February 2021. Only a handful of inflorescence were form.

This Dendrobium aphyllum specimen orchid was given to the author last March 1, 2014 at an eyeball of Pinoy Coke Fanatics.

This orchid species is quite hardy and can survive lowland hot and humid condition. This orchid species can be found growing up to about 1,800 meters altitude. The blooming season is during the onset of the dry season in western part of the country up to late May or early June in some parts of the country.

Water and Fertilization

We would alternate slow release fertilizer sewn unto a small cloth, Usually between 20 to 50 pieces depending on size of the orchid plant. The larger the specimen plant, the more slow release fertilizer are included. We normally use 30N-30P-30K then alternately use water soluble fertilizers 10N-30P-30K at weakly weekly solution 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended dosage.

Aside from application of small amount of calcium, magnesium and trace elements at least twice a month during the growing season. We start putting small pack of slow release fertilizer 1 to 2 weeks after the orchid plant had bloomed. This process will be repeated at least two to three time during the growing period of Dendrobium aphyllum.

During the transition from wet (rainy season ) and dry ( summer season) which is usually around middle of September. We would change the fertilizer solution from 30N-30P-30K to 10N-30P-30K, to help prepare the orchid for the blooming season. The slow release fertilizer can last up to 3 months in which watering and feeding the orchid is much reduce.

Fertilization and watering should be minimized or reduce in the hemisphere which also starts the autumn or winter season in the northern hemisphere.

With proper care and applying fertilization techniques, Once can be assured that this orchid species can be a garden centerpiece.

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

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

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

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

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