Note: Aerides lawrenciae var sandersiana is endemic here in Mindanao, Philippines. This species is on The IUCN Red List of Threathened species since 2007.
While I was tending my plants yesterday, I witnessed a violation committed by a furry black winged-insect with bright yellow bands — a bumble bee (Bombus hortorum). I caught the drone in the act when he punctured one of the buds of my Dendrobium ‘A.P. Blue’. I dashed to my Dendrobium cluster as fast as I could. When I got to my orchid, the culprit had flown.
It was too late. The damage has been done. Obviously, the bumble bee got the nectar he wanted for I saw a hole through the blue bud.
t’s a bit disappointing whenever this happens because once bees harvest the orchid’s nectar, the bud or full-bloom flowers begin to wilt. It doesn’t really matter to them as to who cultivated the flowers as long as they got there first before the stingless bees. Though I understand the competition going on in my garden, I simply wish that the drone would’ve just waited for a few days when the blue flowers are in full bloom.
Blue Dendrobium orchids are indigenous in here in the Philippines and decades ago, these are found mostly in the forests in Mindanao. Due to the flower trade boom, most of these species scarce in the wild but are presently cultivated in orchid farms and in private gardens.
Like most of my orchids, Dendrobium ‘A.P. Blue’ is an easy-to-care hybrid variety from the original blue Dendrobium. The moth-like flowers are about 3 inches wide across and its blooms last for at least 4 weeks.
Due to the frenchy-ring of its name, most of my friends thought that Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana is an imported plant. It was named after Monsieur Lueddemann of Paris; his passion with exotic plants was rewarded when he got to flower this species in European soil in 1865. This variety of orchid is actually endemic here in the Philippines.
My P. lueddemanniana produces 3 – 5 white flowers about less than 2 inches wide across. Red and purple streaks appear on the sepals and petals. Also, a purple lip with hair-like bristles at its tip adds an interesting detail to this sweetly scented blossom. The flowers could last up to eight weeks.
This orchid is easy to care, at least here in the tropics. It requires morning sunlight, sufficient water and fertilizer once a week. I alternately put a bloom-booster and a grower fertilizer on it so it could flower thrice a year. Moreover, I’ve placed this orchid on a hanging basket filled and used chunks of bark from a black tree-fern or anutong as potting material.
For decades, these “medicine-men” would prepare the potion in this manner. Firstly, they would harvest the fresh flowers of the orchid in the late afternoon. Secondly, they would put 7 flowers in a glass filled with cold water. Thirdly, they would leave the uncovered glass of water/flowers overnight in an open area where dew could develop. Finally, in the morning before breakfast, they would administer the drink to the patient who is suffering from relapse or over fatigue.
I’ve tried this myself and it tasted like ordinary water; minutes after drinking the potion, I sweated a lot and felt relief and rejuvenated. Modern doctors may scoff at this practice but its traditional medicine.
This orchid Euanthe sanderiana arrived in my garden last thursday, April 28 all the way from Davao, Philippines. Even though I already have one in my collection, the waling-waling orchid is always welcome in my garden. Just look at it those flowers (3-4 inches across), and you could just marvel at the creativity of the Maker. The upper sepal and petals are fairly uniform white to rose while the lower sepals are yellow-green and heavily veined with reddish brown. Truly, the waling-waling is an original beauty.