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The vulture-with-cat orchid

August 1, 2011

I publish this blog now since Dokmai Garden closes in three hours, and the blossom will be gone. If anyone wants to see an orchid which looks like a vulture attacking a cat, come today, tomorrow Tuesday is too late.

Grosourdya appendiculata (Orchidaceae) is a native Thai species which demands a very moist environment. Since the blossom lasts one day only, I just pollinated one flower. The hopeless scientific genus name is derived from the botanist Renato de Grosourdy.

To create an interest in the native Thai orchids, we suggest the vernacular English name ‘vulture-with-cat orchid’. The flower looks like it is composed of two parts; the lip resembling a screaming cat, the long column the neck of a vulture and the other petals and sepals the wings and feathers.

This orchid is 1 cm broad and 2 cm long.

The vulture holds the cat…

Flat orchid leaves usually indicate a preference for shady and wet environments. This species is native to Thailand, Burma and Malaysia in wet evergreen habitats. We hope it will not go extinct like the Thai vultures which are already gone.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Karel permalink
    August 10, 2011 6:24 PM

    What a nice name! Pity that the striking flower lasts for one day only. This plant has been repeatedly confirmed from Dong Nai province of Vietnam, Vinh Cuu NR, (not to mention other Vietnamese lowland locations). Secondary forest, sunny shade and 70% humidity during the dry season.

    • August 10, 2011 9:20 PM

      Many thanks for precise data – feel free to add more if you have data for other species! Kind regards, Ketsanee and Eric

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