8 Exotic Species of Orchids Growing in Indonesia Archipelago

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Exotic species of orchids grow in Indonesia

Indonesia is the home of various exotic and rare species of orchids. Most of them are living in the humid environment of Indonesian forest scattered all over the archipelago. Some of them are described below:

Bulbophyllum Graveolens (Papuan Orchid)

Growing in the warm forest of Papua, an island at the Eastern tip of Indonesia Archipelago, this orchid is also known as Aggrek Papua in local language. The plant is large with flower head can measure up to ten inches. The orchid blooms in dry season and needs adequate sunlight (though direct sunlight should be avoided) and humid environment. It is epiphytic below tree trunks or tough leaves. Despite its beautiful appearance, it smells terribly. The smell is used to attract flies during pollination.

image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulbophyllum_graveolens

Vanda Limbata

image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanda_limbata

Native to Java and Lesser Sunda Islands, Vanda Limbata can often be found on Komodo Island, an island famous for its ancient giant lizard at the southern part of Indonesia archipelago. The plants mostly spread in lowland forest along the coast. Compare to other species of orchids, Vanda Limbata is relatively small with flowers no larger than 4cm from side to side. Its maroon color is rather provoking and it has sweet jasmine-like scent that grows stronger in the morning. The flower blooms frequently, from two to four times a year.

Grammatophyllum speciosum, The Queen of Orchid

Image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Orchid

Known as “Aggrek Tebu” (Sugarcane Orchid) in local language, this plant can grow to gigantic size in crotches of trees and tree stumps. It actually had been recognized as one of the largest orchids in the world. The height of the raceme can reach three meters and each can bear up to eighty flowers. The epiphytic root bundles grow remarkably huge with bulbs exceeding two meters long. The plants form clusters weighing up to more than one ton. The red –black polka dot tiger-like pattern on the yellow flower petal earns it the name of “Tiger Orchid”. It is native to South East Asia countries. In Indonesia it can be found in a warm and humid lowland rainforest of Java, Moluccas, Sumatra and Sulawesi Islands. This orchid blooms extremely rare, only once for every two to four years. But fortunately, the flowers will last for approximately two months, a relatively long life for an orchid.

Coelogyne pandurata

image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coelogyne_pandurata

Coelogyne pandurata is known also as “Black Orchid” according to the black color of the flower’s lip. It is one of the rarest epiphytic orchids in the world growing only on tree trunks or mossy rock formations in lowland rainforest of Kalimantan or Borneo Island in Indonesia. The flower blooms in dry season and it has scent like honey. One spike with length reaching up to 30 inches can bear around 15 three-to-four inches flowers. In contrast to the dark marking of the lip, the flowers are pale. This species is on the brink of extinction due to deforestation and exploitation. Efforts had been made to preserve its existence, one of which is in-vitro cultivation carried out at Bogor Botanic Garden in Java.

Paphiopedilum galucophyllum

image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paphiopedilum_glaucophyllum

This terrestrial orchid has a unique oblong-elliptical appearance resembling a woman’s shoe. Due to its unusual shape, this orchid is also named “Lady’s slipper”. Paphiopedilum galucophyllum grows on mossy volcanic mountain slopes and rainy limestone cliffs of Java and Sumatra Islands at an altitude of 200 to 700 meters above sea level. The flower is colorful with green, white, pink and dominating purple. The leaves are green and light blue. The petals are hairy and rather waxy. The size of the plant is moderate. The plant can grow up to 18 inches tall and the flowers are approximately three to four inches wide. Lady’s slipper blooms frequently over a long flowering period from spring till winter.

Papilionanthe hookeriana

image source : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papilionanthe_hookeriana

Growing in the swampy lowland forest of South East Asia, mainly in Borneo, this species is also known as “Swamp Orchid”. The color of the flower is a gradation of purple. The flower blooms in dry season when the sun shines fully. Each flower is around five centimeters wide. In its natural habitat the stem is supported by the leaves of an aquatic plant called hanguana malayana or as the native named it, “water banana”. A few decades ago, the sight of velvet landscape formed by millions of this species of orchid in flower can commonly be found along the wide meandering swampy river on the island. But this once-abundant orchid is now in endangered status. Loss of habitat had caused this plant to nearly extinct. Luckily, this kind of orchid can be easily cultivated as garden plant.

Cymbidium aloifolium

image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbidium_aloifolium

This species spreads widely across deciduous forests of Asia including in Java and Sumatra Islands, Indonesia. They can grow at an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level. The orchid may grow on branches, trunk of palm trees, leaf litter, rotten woods and mossy rocks. The belt-shaped leaves are thick and rigid. The leaves can expand to 60 centimeters long and 3 centimeters wide. The 4 inches pale cream flowers have red striped petals and sepal. It usually blooms in April for about a week. Each raceme could carry between 14 to 30 flowers.

Grammatophyllum scriptum

image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatophyllum_scriptum

Similar to its sister, grammatophyllum speciosum, this species that grows in the wild is also very large and has tiger-liked patterns on its flowers. In Indonesia, it can be found in Papua and the Moluccas Islands. It always grows near beaches or seashore and sometimes found on coconut tree. The plant blooms in April and last until July or August. Each plant could produce up to one hundred flowers. The bulb also has medicinal use. The native people usually make paste out of the bulb and use it to treat sores and intestinal ailments. The smaller version of grammatophyllum scriptum had been cultivated and sold in the market today.


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