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FLOWERING SEASON OF THE FRAGRANT SANGGUMAY ORCHID
By Norberto R. Bautista
Sanggumay or Purple Rain is one of the Philippine orchid species with a powerful fragrance. Its scientific name, Dendrobium anosmum (or otherwise known as Dendrobium superbum) is the most popular orchid among hobbyists. The strong fragrance is often times repulsive, so it was given the name “Sanggumay”, which is a mixture of the Tagalog word ‘masangsang’ and ‘nakaka-umay’. Because of its ease of growing and cultivation, it is one of the most popular orchid plant in most gardens. It is also one of the orchid often exhibited during Orchid Shows of both the Philippine Orchid Society, Philippine Horticultural Society and the Los Banos Orchid Society during the first quarter of the year. Dr. John Lindley named this very fragrant species in the Botanical Register in 1845. The specific name means without scent, which is a bit of a misnomer as this plant has a strong perfume. The orchid has a pendulous and sympodial growth habit , with pseudobulbs up to 1.5 meters long by 1 cm in diameter. Leaves are decidous, and last only 12 months, measuring about 7.5 cm long by 1.5 cm wide. The inflorescences are short, appearing from the leafless nodes, bear up to 3 flowers up to 7.5 cm across petals. Flower are normally pale purple in color with 2 darker purple blotches on labellum. Dorsal and lateral sepals are lanceolate, up to 3.5 cm long by 1.5 cm wide. Petals are ovate, up to 3.5 cm long by 2 cm wide. Labellum is circular (if flattened), up to 5 cm long by 3.5 cm wide with a pointed tip, hairy within. Within the species, a alba or white variety exists. Habitat and Distribution: The plant is widely distributed and found in Thailand, the Malay Archipelago, Indonesia, Borneo and New Guinea, In the Philippines it has been found in Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province and Nueva Vizcaya on Luzon and Davao del Sur in Mindanao. Variety dearei only occurs in the Philippines and has been found in Rizal and Mountain Province on Luzon. The variety huttonii is found in the Malay Archipelago, Papua New Guinea and the
Philippines, where it is very rare and has only been recorded from Rizal on Luzon. It grows as an epiphyte at elevations to 1,000 meters. After flowering is over, the unbloomed nodes near the tip of the pseudobulbs and a few nodes just below the lowest flowers will start to produce keikis. A keiki may be removed from its parent plant when a good root system has developed in a couple of months. These plants normally do not produce flowers during the first year in existence, but will bloom during the next season.
This orchid has important uses to Chinese medicine, as its flowers contain volatile components which yields twenty-five components, mostly methylketones and 2-alkyl acetates. Monoterpene d-, l, and dl- forms of linalool have been described in one study and Linalool are used as odor agent in cosmetics and soaps.
Light. Matured Dendrobiums grow in 60% sunlight up to 75% sun, provided that they are protected from intense heat and light at noontime, to prevent scorching of leaves. Shade nets are used to provide the right amount of light, or plants are placed in eves of houses. For seedlings, they may be grown in 50% shade, but later needs to be adjusted in higher light intensity for flower initiation. Potting Techniques. Dendorbiums could be planted either in plastic or clay pots, and the plant have to be properly stalked or anchored in the center of the pot using GI or copper wires. The plant may also be mounted on live trees or dead wood, and plants needs to be anchored properly of else they will fail to root. Dendrobiums flower within 1.5- 2 years from seedlings. Watering. The rate of watering depends on location, wind movement, and light intensity. Water only when the media is dry; and allow plant to dry (not bone dry) before another watering. Spraying water all over the plant using a water hose until the plant is dripping wet is satisfactory. The plants needs to be watered regularly, and changes in watering frequency usually causes the plant to shed its leaves. Ventilation or wind movement is very important in drying the plant. Plants
needs to be kept dry a few hours after watering. Water soaked plants tend to rot. Use an industrial or electric fan to dry plants if wind movement is not available. Flowering. The flowering season of these plants is from February to April as they experience cold temperature. The plants usually shed their leaves, and often times for the unexperienced orchidist would thought of it as dead, but afterwards will produce 2 flowers per node. The usual species produces very fragrant purple flowers, but some varieties has white flowers. Fertilization. Sanggumays need to be fertilized using a dilute orchid foliar fertilizer solution once every week. Follow the recommended dilution rate in the label of fertilizers. Fertilize the plants early in the morning, as nutrients are commonly absorbed by the leaves and roots in the presence of light. Potting Media. These Dendrobiums are epiphytes and usually grow on tree trunks in their native habitat. In culture, they could grow on coconut husk, charcoal, croaks (broken pottery), and chopped tree fern, acacia wood, or caimito branches. For coconut husks, they need to be soaked first overnight for 2 days for the tanins to be leached out before using. These tanins prevent the plant from rooting properly. Pests and Disease Management. Sanggumays are often attacked by weevils, which bore holes on the canes or pseudobulb, and they are very difficult to eliminate. Weevils can be eliminated by handpicking or spraying with a systemic insecticide, or sprinkling sand or diatomaceous earth on the crevices of leaves. Sucking insects like thrips, aphids, mites and scales also attack his Dendrobium, and they can be controlled by a dilute spray of soap solution, an organic concoction of hot pepper-ginger or if heavy infestation, Lannate or Sevin insecticides. During rainy season, spray fungicides like Dithane or Captan to protect plants from rotting. Propagation. Conventionally, these Dendrobiums could be propagated through division of pseudobulbs. Once the plants have passed from its flowering season, it can be divided using sterile pruning shears into 3 pseudobulbs each and mounted on clay pots with charcoal or coconut husks. The wound needs to be sealed with a fungicides paste (a teaspoon of water added in 2 teaspoon fungicide powder) to prevent entry of fungal diseases into the wound. Long pseudobulbs or stems can also be cut with 3 nodes for each segment, and usually each stem segment will develop a plantlet or keikis. The fastest and efficient way of propagation is through orchid seed culture technology in the laboratory. Flowers of selected plants are pollinated, and their seed capsules are allowed to mature. Dendrobium seed capsules mature in about 3 months. They usually contain about 20,000 seeds! The seeds are then sown in the laboratory in a glass vessel with an artificial nutrient medium. The seeds will germinate in a month’s and will become hardy seedlings in a years time. Then, they are out-planted in the nursery where they mature and flower from 1.5 to 2 years time. The Urban Gardener is an official electronic publication (in PDF Format) of the Plant Biotechnology Project, Research & Development Center, Rizal Technological University, Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City, Philippines. It is published monthly. For more information, please inquire thru email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and landline
(+632) 534-8267 Local 135 or Fax (+632) 534-9710.
The Plant Biotechnology Project Committee is composed of: Alexander B. Quilang, Norberto R. Bautista, Jovita A. Anit & Carnette C. Pulma.
ALL SET FOR THE STAGING OF 2ND FLORA FILIPINA
At last! Everything is set for the staging of the much awaited 2nd Flora Filipina Expo on February 6-16, 2009 at the Orchidarium Park, Quezon City Hall, East Avenue corner Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City. Through the leadership of the Philippine Orchid Society (POS), the country’s various garden clubs and the major key players of the ornamental plant industry will convene in this prestigious event at the iconic heart of Quezon City. This year’s event will be much larger than the previous one 3 years ago and will again put the Philippines in the map of floriculture tourism. Past POS President Mr. Manolo Lopez and Congressman Cynthia Villar will be the guests of honor who would be leading the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Flora Filipina this coming February 05, at 4:00 in the afternoon. The event aims to boost the morale of the country’s horticultural industry, with the blessings of the Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture and the Quezon City government. The Flora Filipina Expo has become a major Philippine tourism event, and it aims to create awareness among Filipino horticulture enthusiasts and also foreign plant growers about the beauty and value of Philippine plant species. This is also an event wherein we are inviting foreigners to visit our islands and see our wide collection of flora species. The Flora Filipina Expo is proud to have about 90 commercial booths who will be trading to the public selected and rare orchids, ferns, bromeliads, aroids, palms, flowering annuals, hoyas, epiphytes, bonsai, tree seedlings, seeds, including garden accessories, fertilizers, and pesticides. The event will be having as many as 40 exhibit booths at the lagoon area. So, do not forget your cameras! A 2-day Scientific Conference will also be staged at the Conference Hall of the Bureau of Soils, (besides the Department of Agriculture), Visayas Avenue corner Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City on February 6-7, 2009. Topics includes: production and research results in orchids, bromeliads, ferns, hibiscus, palms, cacti, succulents, mussaenda, raffesia, the use of beneficial microorganisms, landscaping, horticultural internet marketing and a lot more. Along with these are presentation of horticultural technologies in France, Hawaii (US), Thailand and Singapore. There will also be a free-daily lecture at the exhibit site. With this, the event is expecting more than 25,000 visitors. Foreign delegates and participants from the provinces will be arriving
on the first week of February to attend the opening of the event, the conference and the special organized tours. The Philippines is certainly is a rich plant habitat and is truly an ideal place to grow both tropical and semi-temperate crops. Some of the rare orchid species that can actually be found in the country include the majestic Waling-Waling (Vanda sanderiana), which is the “Queen of the Philippine Orchids,” Vanda luzonica, Phalaenopsis amabilis and other Phalaenopsis species, the Black orchid (Trichoglottis brachiata), various Lady slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum species), just to name a few. This season is the flowering of the Dendrobium anosmum (Sanggumay) and the Butterfly Orchids (Phalaenopsis species and hybrids). For ornamentals, we have the jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys), various Alocasia species, an assortment of fern species and allies, Hoya and Discidia vines, palms and cycads, and about 27,000 species more of ornamental plants.
Aside from species, the country can grow and mass produce a lot of introduced or imported ornamental plant hybrids like Euphorbias, Hibiscus, Aglaonema, Alocasia, Cacti, Succulents, and Cattleya orchids. With this, the Philippines certainly has much to offer in terms of diversity of garden plants for trade. The country has a high potential of mass producing and exporting plants abroad, however, we just need to identify problems in marketing which are causing barriers in the expansion of the Philippine plant trade export industry. With this Flora Filipina event, the organizers hope to unite the local ornamental plant industry, provide technical assistance and market opportunities, and in a larger picture push forth the positive growth of the industry. Rizal Technological University, through the Research & Development Center, will be participating with the Plant Biotech Project and the Mushroom Technology Project setting up an Exhibit Booth at the Show Site. This is to promote the University’s thrust and projects.