A Quintet of Phalaenopsis
We have written three previous articles on the “Large-Flowered Phalaenopsis Species,” “Variation of Phalaenopsis equestris,” and the “Star-Shaped Phalaenopsis Species.” In this article, we are including a quartet of species, plus a natural hybrid, which have not been mentioned previously.
Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi is one of the most widely distributed of all the Phalaenopsis species and it has been recorded from north-east India, the Nicobar Islands, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo. In the Philippines, it is only known from the island of Palawan. As would be expected from such a widespread orchid there is considerable color variation between populations from different countries. There are clones which are solid reddish-brown through to clear greenyellow individuals. The most commonly seen coloration of the flowers is yellowish-green marked with reddishbrown spots and blotches; the labellum is white. An interesting feature of this species is the inflorescence, which, as the specific alludes to, resembles the antlers of a deer. A well-established plant of this species is seldom without a flower.
Phalaenopsis intermedia is probably the most commonly seen orchid species in the Philippines. We cannot recall a province we have visited without seeing this delightful orchid growing somewhere. Another great feature of this orchid is that it thrives in the heat of the lowlands. There is considerable variation in the coloration of the labellum, and we have observed
individuals with red (var. portei), peach, yellow, and striped labella (which is the plural form of labellum.) Usually the sepals and petals are milky white, but occasionally there are clones with pale pink floral segments. This species is endemic to the Philippines and found nowhere else.
Phalaenopsis lindenii is a highland species, from the mountains of central Luzon, and its natural habitat is some of the wettest places in the Philippines. Being a species of high elevations, where it receives constant, cool, air movement and high humidity, it will
NOT grow or flower in the heat of the lowlands. The foliage is deep green, with silvery mottling. The inflorescences will branch on adult plants and there is considerable variation in the intensity
of the striping on the floral segments. Phalaenopsis lindenii is also endemic to the Philippines.
Phalaenopsis micholitzii is, without a doubt, the rarest Phalaenopsis species known to occur in the Philippines, and the senior author (JC) has only ever seen three plants, in cultivation, in his countless visits to the Philippines since 1977. It has only been recorded from the province of Camarines Sur on Luzon, and the southern province of Zamboanga on Mindanao. One can only wonder, with such a disjointed distribution record, whether one of the localities is erroneous. Amazingly this species is more readily available to growers, and lovers of orchid species, in Europe and the United States of America, than it is in the Philippines. This is because people will swap pollen of different clones of this orchid, so that this rare species can be grown in flask, to make it readily available to growers. Another Philippine endemic species.
Phalaenopsis ×veitchiana is a beautiful, seldom seen, natural hybrid between Phalaenopsis equestris and
Phalaenopsis schilleriana. Usually the inflorescences are upright and branching, bearing many delightful pink blooms. It is found, occasionally, in the areas where Phalaenopsis equestris and Phalaenopsis schilleriana grow together. The man-made version of this hybrid is known as Phalaenopsis Schiller’s Horse, and it was not registered until 2006. This beautiful natural hybrid is another Philippine endemic.
Phalaenopsis x veitchiana (Jim Cootes)
Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi (Jim Cootes)
Phalaenopsis micholitzii (Ron Parsons)
Phalaenopsis intermedia (Ronny Boos)
Phalaenopsis lindenii (Jim Cootes)