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I DID see a flying dragon!

May 6, 2011

We keep some exotic rainforest plants such as nutmeg (Myristica fragrans, Myristicaceae) and cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, Myrtaceae) in the northern part of Dokmai Garden where we have moisturisers and sprinklers. Other dear rainforest plants have a refuge in our outdoor shower used by the tropical gardening school students. One such plant is the orchid Gongora sp. (Orchidaceae) from South America. It has flowers which look like dragons or pterodactyls.

The flower of this orchid resembles a flying dragon. Each flower hangs upside down, i.e. at the bottom you see the column, and the yellow whiskered dragon’s head is the lip. There is a fragrance, but very hard to describe.

The raceme looks like whirling little dragons, all facing each other.

This orchid was named after Antonio Caballero y Gongora (1723-1796), viceroy of New Grenada (Colombia and Ecuador) and governor of Peru. By supporting the Orchid Ark you may lend your name to a plant too!

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Folbert Bronsema permalink
    May 6, 2011 3:51 PM

    For Gongora lovers: have a look at the American Orchid Society website.

    http://www.aos.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Collector_s_Items&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=8512

    • May 7, 2011 9:53 AM

      Thanks a lot Folbert for that link – a very interesting reading! We should also acknowledge Folbert for donating this orchid to Dokmai Garden. Some Dutch visitors from yesterday thought the fragrance was like ‘the wax mother used to polish the table’.

      Cheers, Eric

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