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Deflasking Dendrobium orchids.

September 7, 2012

The Dokmai Garden Orchid Ark develops. The ground orchid display was established in August and in spite of the drought some orchids are already making buds. The aim is to allow the terrestrial orchids settle and disperse within the monsoon woodland, a dry teak-dipterocarp plantation with scattered evergreen longan and mango. We have also harvested the first mature seed capsule of Vanda denisoniana. It was pollinated on April 25th by garden school students Lim and Bruno. The blog about how to germinate orchid seeds ‘kitchen-style’ has become very popular, about a thousand readers every month.

Yesterday morning I deflasked an orchid gift from the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden: Dendrobium secundum in the cloned form on nutrient agar in glass bottles. We used the donated plastic jars from the Henry Doorly Zoo (USA) as transition incubators, to prepare the clonelings for a drier environment. In total I used 21 jars with moist tissue in the bottom, keeping the lids untightened. During a week’s time I shall gradually reduce the moisture before mounting the clonelings. Keeping them light on the counter of the bar is perfect, so that I can monitor them easily and show them to visiting guests (yesterday we had the honour of receiving a young and very well educated couple from the Czech Republic).

In the nearby jungles you may still see one or two specimens of this native orchid grow on Shorea roxburghii on the driest hill crests. It already grows in a deciduous snapdragon tree (Gmelina arborea) in the Dokmai Garden parking, but the presence of many more specimens will help natural propagation via seeds. The need for this is evident from reading the latest comments on the ‘Last Days of the Orchids’.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

(Precipitation update: yesterday on September 6th we received 15 of rain in the evening).

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