Lim and Bruno
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.