Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Bamboo Orchids of Sarawak, Borneo

Ever wondered how a bamboo orchid look like? Like a bamboo! Which is a tall grass.  Which is a reed. That's how the name came about. In Latin arundo means reed.  Because the stem of this wayside orchid is akin to that of the reed, it came to be known as the Bamboo Orchid.
Driving back to Bintulu from Kuching, a distance of 600 km last week and many many moons before that, I realise that the stretch between Sibu and Bintulu is the best area to find these orchids growing wild along the Sarawak highway.  I find them most endemic from Bintulu to Tatau where they grow in groups or clusters. The bamboo orchids are native to this part of the world but I understand that they are not found in the Philippines. 
Upon closer observation , I find that the flowers are much like the cattelya orchid though much smaller in size, mainly because the lip of its flowers are broad and the outer edge frilled..  The inflorescence is terminal and the flowers open in succession, one or two at a time. I find at many a gardens where they are grown in beds or clustered which is the best way to display its beauty. Best if you incorporate them in a rockery.  Requiring full sun and well drained friable soil there are plants that need little maintenence in our tropical garden. For this reason I choose this species as one of my kambatik garden plant favourite. Unfortunately the flowers do not last long, 3-4 days at the most. Other names of which this plant is called are: Arundinia speciosa, A. chinensis, A. densiflora and A. affinis.

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