Sunday, November 15, 2009

Phalaenopsis maculata in situ

I consider myself very lucky to have seen this species in situ. It truly was a chance sighting as I never expected to come across it while exploring a limestone hill. Limestone hills are full of surprises! Even though they are difficult and dangerous to climb, I love exploring them as they often present many good photo ops.

Phalaenopsis_maculata_orchid 2
Phalaenopsis maculata in situ.

Phalaenopsis maculata is locally known in bahasa Melayu (Malay language) as kupu-kupu batu. Literally translated, it means rock (batu) butterfly (kupu-kupu) or rock moth. 'Butterfly/moth’ because phals are known as moth orchids and ‘rock’ because this species is lithophytic. These are photos I took some time ago.

Limestone outcrop
Limestone habitat for Phalaenopsis maculata.

limestone-outcrop 2
The orchid grows on top of thick humus collected on the limestone.

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Two seedpods on this inflorescence.

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A bug chewed plant growing in a thick layer of humus on limestone.

Phalaenopsis_maculata_orchid 4
Click the picture for the larger photo and note the thick layer of debris and humus it grows on.

It is not as difficult a species as say, Phalaenopsis corningiana, which requires a very humid environment and plenty of moisture. However, judging from my own plants, P. maculata does seem to like some lime (alkaline) in its media.

I have one large plant in a basket with leaf litter, debris, charcoal and limestone chips and it flowers often. It has even produced a little keiki. I have two more in a pot with moss and limestone chips and those are doing well and have spiked before too (but snails chewed up the spikes). Then there is another mounted on a piece of tree fern, while healthy and fairly large, has never flowered or even spiked before.

Sometimes when trekking in a limestone area, I like to collect the natural humus off the ground for some of my orchids such as paphs and terrestrials.

Phalaenopsis maculata, the rock phal. Hope the photos give a better idea of how to make your own plants happy. :)

2 comments:

equestris said...

Thanks for sharing this information about Phal. maculata. That's great to see this species is still alive in the wild. Hope it will stay there for long time and that the offspring of the young pod you show us will be numerous!
Alain

William said...

I've always wanted to see a rare specie such as that one. I hope I can see one when I visit these places.

wildlife removal

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