Friday, January 4, 2013

Foliage and jewel orchids

Unlike most orchids, these smallish terrestrials are grown mainly for their foliage rather than the flowers. They have rather cryptic coloration or psychedelically intricate patterns - strategies to break their outline and blend with the environment. Some of them are known by trade as Jewel orchids, a non-botanical term describing plants from diverse botanical genus. Like most terrestrial orchids, they are, in general,  a challenge to grow, but that does not seem to stop many people from trying their luck..

The first genus in the list is Dossinia - of which D. marmorata is the sole member. It was at one time considered to be a large Macodes - which it resembles from the leaf shape and pattern.

In Situ at limetone crevice
The plant is endemic to limestone regions of Borneo, growing amongst leaf litters or islands of organic debris. Unlike most Macodes it is able to tolerate fairly low humidity.

Backlit leaf

The real Macodes is quite popularly grown by hobbyists.  M. petola is generally smaller than the Dossinia. It is found throughout SE Asia all the way to southern islands of Japan. The pattern of the leaves look rather like Arabic scriptures so in Java the juice made from the plant is used as eye drop to aid literacy amongst kids.

This is another Macodes, which I saw in the Orchid Conference show, most likely M. limii from Borneo. There are 7 species of Macodes according to Orchid species website - and their leaf venation are all rather similar.

Macodes lowii is a rare Borneo native. The pale leaf margin sets it apart from previous species.
Vrydagzynea is a genus of little known (and much less grown) ground orchids usually with plain green foliage but V. tristriata has very attractive stripped leaves not unlike a Ludisia. It is found in lowland limestone areas in Borneo and Malay Peninsula. I think it has potential to be popular but given its rarity, is unlikely to hit the shelves soon.

In subsequent postings I will showcase some other genera of foliage orchids, cheers.


r L n ! said...

Your detailed photography makes me appreciate GOD's infinite detail-mindedness so much more. Your way of seeing and thus expressing your seeing through your photos reminds me to stop and take the time to give more appreciate attention to the beauty that GOD has surrounded us with -- to get outside more, even if it's just to Mom's backyard garden, and go macro and just enjoy! Thank you. May GOD bless you with Truth and Precious Beauty this 2013.

Hort Log said...

Thanks so much - and a fruitful new year to you too.

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