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Lim and Bruno

April 25, 2012

Tropical Garden School students Lim (Singapore) and Bruno (France) practiced on orchid propagation today. In the cool (24°C) morning we defined what an orchid is, and compared large Papilionanthe teres (Orchidaceae) orchid flowers with the flowers of Justicia adhatoda (Acanthaceae). Then we practiced pollination on the detached orchid flowers, soon switching to both self-pollination and cross pollination of living Vanda denisoniana. Last year’s experience was that the pollinating insect (nobody knows which insect species) is not present here at Dokmai Garden, and so we try to pollinate ourselves.The aim is to get fruits and seeds for increased genetic diversity.

Since the Orchid Ark has many individuals of this orchid species, and since our orchid scouts have reported natural habitats resembling the Dokmai Garden woodland, Lim and Bruno transplanted six plants to six different trees. We discussed which strings to use, how to orient the plant in the tree and how high up to place it.

Lim and Bruno in action, detaching Vanda denisoniana from its cage.

Then we collected some fresh green and yellowish mango, and watched Nived make a delicious mango salad for us. After lunch we transferred Vanilla siamensis and Vanilla planifolia to new more moist sites. These orchid species like to have their roots in the ground, and then trail up branches.

We also detached Dendrobium pseudobulbs and keikis (shoots with roots formed on mother pseudobulbs) and mounted these on coconut husks we had produced when opening coconuts.

We went back to the Papilionanthe teres orchid and cut it away from its pot. Then we cut it in two pieces and selected one teak tree and one makha tree, where we planted the cuttings in the ground and then tied the stems to the base of the trees. By this time the temperature was 37.5°C and Lim declared this was the hottest day he had ever experienced in his life. In Singapore it usually stays around 31°C. If we have no thunder storms during the coming few days we may hit 40°C. The climate of Chiang Mai is more similar to central India than to Bangkok.

Eric Danell

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. John Hobday permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:24 AM

    You might be interested that the highest temperature I have recorded in Chiang Mai was 41 degrees C on 3rd May 1992. We fled to Kunming.
    Our house is situated close to the new convention centre between the irrigation canal and Doi Suthep and is surrounded by trees, probably a similar environment to Dokmai Garden. This year the highest temperature has been 35 degrees yesterday, with a consistant 24-25 in the early morning. The highest temperatures are usually recorded in the first week of May, just before the rains arrive.

    John Hobday.

    • April 26, 2012 4:04 PM

      Thank you for the update! Today we had 38.4°C which is hotter than any day last year. The highest temperature ever recorded at Dokmai Garden is 42°C in April during the el Nino year 2010. The highest temperature ever recorded in Thailand is 44°C. Of course there is local variation and also an error in the instruments used, so by using the same instrument in one place we can make comparisons between years. This year is a normal year.

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