Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blooming pigeon orchids

Though Singapore is well known for exporting cultivated orchids, I prefer to actually admire these pretty flowers in the wild. Recently during the week, there has been heavy downpours which of course also led to a sudden decrease of temperature.

If the decrease of temperature is at least 5.5 °C, the pigeon orchids will bloom! When they bloom, not only are they nice to look at, they also will exude strong fragrance which unfortunately last only for two days.

Pigeon orchids (Dendrobium crumenatum) are the commonest orchid in Singapore. These tropical epiphytic plants can be found growing naturally in the branches of trees. I found many pigeon orchids blooming at St John's Island a few days ago.

From the side view, the orchid resemble a flying pigeon. Therefore, they are commonly known as the Pigeon Orchid.

The pigeon orchid flower, like some other flowers, have “landing pads” at the bottom that allow insects, like bees, to fly, land and then walk in to help pollination.

The underneath of this "landing pad" or lip has a nice pale yellow colour.

This epiphytic plant has aerial roots that can help to absorb moisture from the humid air.

The stems are slender and smooth with pseudobulbs at the base.

According to Burkill, the Malays commonly use the juice of the pseudobulbs for treating ears.

The Malays poultice boils and pimples with pounded leaves. Wow!

It is known that ants of the genus Dolichoderus nest among the aerial roots of the pigeon orchid. I'm not sure the red ants here belong to that genus though. Hehe.

The next time you see pigeon orchids blooming, do stop for a moment to take a closer look at them!


Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm Raymond from Indonesia. I agree with your opinion about this unique orchid. Did you know, I have 2 clumps of this orchid in my house! But they haven't form inflorences yet. I love their scents, I think it's like a baby powder's scents. In my hometown, Garut, in West Java. There's a tree near the road that covered with this kind of orchid on it's trunk and branches! When the dry season change to rainy season, this tree will be covered by their beautiful white flowers! If you see this tree in that moment, you will be speechless ! Trust Me! But it's a pity that now the clumps at the lower part of the tree is damaged T-T...

Unknown said...

Hi Raymond! Thanks for sharing so much about your lovely orchids. Yup, they bloom a lot after a rain or a drop in temperature. Nature is lovely and it's nice we can appreciate the wonders of nature.

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