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A mellow Bulbophyllum

August 31, 2011

Sometimes an orchid does not reveal itself until after several years when the blossom is formed. Below is the amazing flowering panicle of Bulbophyllum bittnerianum (Orchidaceae). What you see below are the yellow bracts partly covering the yellow flowers. The fragrance at night was weakly reminding me of carcass like in so many other Bulbophyllum, or was it imagination?

There is another very similar species described from Laos in 1979 (Bulbophyllum allenkerrii). Since I believe the two species are conspecific, as discussed by Seidenfaden (Dansk Botanisk Arkiv 33(3):113), I simply use the oldest name from 1910. If there is a molecular study on the DNA of the two taxa the question could be resolved. Since this orchid (sensu lato) is only found in Thailand and Laos, not elsewhere in the world, it is a dear subject for the Orchid Ark. Growing at high altitudes in evergreen forests makes us wonder whether it would survive in the Chiang Mai valley or not. It was bought on August 1, 2009, and flowered on August 25, 2011, making it not only surviving for two years but also flowering. We thank Corien and Folbert Bronsema for this splendid donation!

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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