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An improvised activity

May 26, 2012

Yesterday’s rain shower (26 mm of precipitation in 45 minutes, plus another 2 mm) triggered sparkling firefly activity and an impressive frog chorus. We therefore decided to keep Dokmai Garden open between 20.00 and 21.00 tonight to watch the fireworks of these beetles. We meet in the restaurant garden first and then we walk together. Therefore you should be here slightly before 9 p.m. The ticket is 100 Baht but lifetime members and VIP members have a free entrance. Bring good trekking shoes!

All of our garden life seem pleased with the rains since the previous rain was a while ago (May 9th). All, with exception of the newborn guinea fowl. A proud mother showed up yesterday afternoon with ten or twelve hatchlings (hard to count when the ground seems to boil of little birds). I hurried to clean the drinking water tank and to serve them white rice. When the rain and the wind struck I felt so sorry for them. Guinea fowl babies are known to be very sensitive to rain and cold. The first thing Ruben and I did this morning was to search for the family (the adults normally sleep in the trees). I saw all three adults by the breadfruit and the mother was ‘flattened’ on the ground, indicating she had living feather balls under her. She has done a good job so far. First she selected a sheltered area among the spiny pineapples for her eggs, she stayed with the eggs and yesterday when she brought the hatchlings she would chase any hen within two meters distance. Respectfully I stayed away too. Some guinea fowl are so degenerated from human intervention they demand a house, a red lamp and an egg incubator, the mothers being incapable of caring for their young. In the African savannahs, their home, they do fine without machines.

The fragrant orchid Dendrobium moschatum (Orchidaceae) is currently in blossom at the Dokmai Garden Orchid Ark. A peculiar feature is the slipper-like lip. To my experience this native species should not be out in full sun. All flowering pseudobulbs are on the shady side, while leaves of sun-exposed pseudobulbs look stressed. We simply let it follow the monsoon seasons without any special care and that seems to work. Unfortunately the flowers are sensitive to thrips like most other Dendrobium.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

4 Comments leave one →
  1. sandriver permalink
    May 27, 2012 5:41 PM

    Dendrobium moschatum “To my experience this native species should not be out in full sun.”

    Above observation is correct. Yesterday, I have seen this species with flowers in Phu Nang national park in Phayao province. The plants are attached to bole of large evergreen tree (10 metres high) which is overhanging Than Sawan waterfall. The river feeding this waterfall is flowing all year, the surrounding forest is evergreen. The area around the waterfall is moist year round and in full shade.

    To any one visiting Phu Nang: beware of the tame green peacock, particularly so when you visit with children. This bird will attack you while you are taking its photograph.

    • May 29, 2012 7:51 AM

      That was useful observations and advice regarding the bird. Do you think the orchid is native or mounted?


      • sandriver permalink
        May 30, 2012 6:41 AM

        The two growths, 5 and 10 metres up on one tree, are not mounted. D. moschatum is growing together with Coelogyne, Hoya and epiphytic ferns. The elevation of the area is between 400 and 500 metres above sea level.

      • May 30, 2012 9:28 AM

        Thank you very much – such information is most valuable to the Orchid Ark.


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