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Dendrobium anosmum – a large native orchid

April 17, 2011

Dear fellow orchid lovers,

Another useful and beautiful Thai orchid site has resigned:

We understand their difficult struggle and ask the world outside Thailand to explore Thai gardens and national parks to keep them alive. Like in Europe and North America the interest in gardening, organic farming and native plants will develop and expand in Thailand too, but it may take another decade or two before the population in general is knowledgeable and concerned. By then it might be too late for many species and forests. The latest reports about the dam construction in Laos are terribly depressing, and this ecocide occurs due to limited knowledge among the peoples in the area, greed and weak legislation.

To temporarily forget the dark clouds on the horizon I need to attend to the plants at Dokmai Garden. Two days ago I saw some emerging purple Dendrobium flowers with dark blotches on the lip, hinting D. parishii. Next morning when I took out the camera the petals and sepals had become more pale, and they were much narrower than D. parishii, indicating this is Dendrobium anosmum. The size of the flowers are impressive: the lip from mentum to tip is 50 mm, and the distance between the lateral (side) sepals is 80 mm.  In spite of the name ‘anosmum’ (meaning ‘not fragrant’) some strains (like ours) have indeed a wonderful perfume, like candy or raspberry jam. Let’s call it ‘raspberry jam orchid’ in English!

Our tropical gardening school student Shane McCarroll from Canada pollinated a flower yesterday, aiming at producing seeds for the Orchid Ark project.

Interestingly, Dendrobium anosmum is native to both the dry north of Thailand and the wet Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It does require a dry period, at least the strains of Thai origin.

A sleeping beauty! At twilight, the flowers close their blushing faces.

(This photo was taken later the same day, of the same plant, as the top photo)

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