Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Philippine Indigenous Orchid (Cymbidium Finlaysonianum),

Dr Abe V Rotor

Inflorescence of C Finlaysonianum; closeup of flower

Growth habit of the indigenous epiphytic orchid, and pods

It is a native orchid. I found it clinging on a fallen branch of a big tree in Mt. Makiling forest. Being an epiphyte I tied it on the trunk of a talisay (Terminalia catappa) at home in Quezon City. It was not difficult for the new transplant to find a new home - in our home. It is because just across the wall at the back of our house is the sprawling La Mesa Watershed. It must be the "forest climate" that approximates that of Mt. Makiling in Laguna, that this native orchid got acclimatized easily.

Among the five Cymbidium species, C. Finlaysonianum is the most widely distributed throughout the Malaysian area, It was collected by Finlayson in Chin-China in the nineteth century. It was dedicated to him by Lindley, who originally described the plant in 1832. There is also a close relative, Cymbidium atropurpureum, its name taken from its dark purple flowers. Because of its closeness to C. Finlaysonianum in all morphological aspects, botanists consider it to be a variety of the latter.

The leaves of this species are leathery and coarse, 35 to 40 inches long and 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide. The raceme is pendulous, about two to four feet long and many-flowered. The flowers are two inches in diameter, sepals and petals rather narrow, long, and colored dull tawny yellow with a reddish-brown median line. The labellum is three-lobed, the center lobe being whitish with a yellow disk and purple-crimson apical spot.

Unlike most domesticated and hybrid orchids that bloom any time and for long periods, I observedthat this wild orchid is sensitive to photoperiodism. It blooms usually in summer - in March and April - and the flowers last about two weeks. I like the characteristic mild fragrance specially in early morning.

Orchids are among the easiest plants to propagate, vegetatively that is, either by tillers (shoots), or by tissue culture, a specialized laboratory procedure. This compensates for the extreme difficulty in propagation by seeds. The seeds of orchids are the most difficult to germinate. Even if they do, survival rate is very nil. It is because the viability of orchid seeds is very short and difficult to monitor.

I have yet to succeed in germinating the seeds of C Finlaysonianum. Even if I fail, I am delighted to have a wild orchid luxuriantly growing in my home - its home. ~~

References: Philippine Orchids by Reg S Davis and Mona Lisa Steiner

1 comment:

CITA said...

Most orchid seeds are hard to propagate but the seeds of this Cymbidium finlaysonianum easily germinate in the pot/soil of some terrestrial plants I had which was located below the coconut tree where the mother Cymbidium was mounted. The soil are loamy and semi-dry because I don't water the plants regularly. Maybe the soil had just contained the symbiotic fungi the orchid seeds need to grow with.