The mandarin orchid is in blossom
The native Thai ‘mandarin orchid’ (Dendrobium cariniferum, Orchidaceae) has orange flowers which smells like mandarin. It is native to the Himalayas and northern Southeast Asia, and prefers quite moist evergreen forests. Being a part of the Orchid Ark it must stay within the moist Dokmai Garden nursery as the Chiang Mai valley is too hot and dry for it. In Thailand you would see it from about 1000 meters elevation. The pseudobulbs are thick and has black hairs. The scientific name ‘cariniferum’, meaning ‘keel-bearing’, is descriptive since the sepals are strongly keeled. The lip has an undulating appearance, making me think of sea slugs (Nudibranchia).
Text & Photo: Eric Danell