A Quin­tet of Pha­laenop­sis

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By JIM COOTES and RONNY BOOS

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)

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