Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dendrobium discolor in Queensland, Australia

Dendrobium discolor 
I have been in Queensland for just over a year now. In April this year I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to visit Lizard Island on a research trip, some 30 km off Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef. On one of the days I took a walk up to the island's highest peak, Cook's Look, at about 359 meters above sea level. I spotted and photographed numerous Dendrobium discolor plants from sea level to near the top of the peak. Most were very large and many of the older specimens bore evidence of damage suffered by cyclones in recent history. What was notable was that all specimens were either lithophytic, wedged securely in deep crevices in solid rock, or semi-terrestrial, found growing at the base of large bushes and trees, but seldom in their branches or off the main trunk (see images below). 

This is the largest Australian Dendrobium species and they are dotted about in various gardens on my walking route into university. Some of the photos I have included here show the size of some of the plants on Lizard island. The species is found throughout Queensland and also in Papua New Guinea. It is in flower now, and I photographed a large specimen in a tree on the university campus where I am currently studying. Unfortunately it appears as if someone tried to break a piece off this plant because there were several broken canes left on the plant, and a severed one lying on the ground at the base of the tree.

Dendrobium discolor habitat on Lizard Island

Lizard Island

Growing at the base of a small tree

Growing in a deep crevice between rocks in exposed location

A very large specimen

Several large specimens growing at the base of a bush

Growing at the base of trees and between rocks

Growing among fallen trees and branches

A very early flower on one plant from Lizard Island

Growing on a rock  with some good new growth evident

A young plant between rocks at the top of Cook's Look

A group of weather-beaten specimens at sea level

Flowering in a tree on campus at the university


Damaged canes from attempted theft?

Fresh severed cane at the base of the tree

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Townsville Orchid Society Spring Show 2016

This morning after dropping the kids off at school, my wife, young son and I went to visit the Townsville Orchid Society Spring show at their clubhouse off Charles Street. I have been silent for a while on the blog due to my full-time PhD studies, but I grabbed the camera (and some money) and decided to do some catching up. My first thoughts were for Patrick, and I wished he could have been here to see the display plants. I was in my element!

Before browsing and taking some photos, I quickly snatched up some special plants on offer. I purchased a large Angraecum eberneum, Brassia Rex 'Sakata' AM/AOS, Dendrobium speciosum var. curvicaule, Coelogyne parishii, and Vanda merrillii. I was hoping for some more Rhynchostylis gigantea but I was probably too late or simply could not find any flowering-size plants. Seedlings were available but they were small.

I was very impressed with the quality of the plants on display, especially some of the Dendrobium hybrids that barely made it under the ceiling! Here are some photos, but the lighting in the hall was not conducive to good images - light was coming in through the many windows from behind the plants:

Bulbophyllum nymphopolitanum

Cattleya nobilor var. amaliae 'Superior 2' X 'Superior'

Cattleya hybrids

Cymbidium madidum - awesome flowers!

Dendrobium Gloucetser Charm 'Don"

Dendrobium jonesii

Dendrobium Maggy May with a bodyguard

Dendrobium nobile white

Dendrobium Peewee X (Ray Dream X Aussie Victory)

Dendrobium Roy Togunaga

Dendrobium lindleyi

Labeled as Robiquetia succisa, but unlikely!

Ludisia discolor - huge plant!

Miltonopsis Breathless

Oeoniella polystachys - don't see theses often

Oeoniella polystachys whole plant

Paphiopedilum lowii

The Phalaenopsis hybrid champion - P. memoria Jorjah Lyn Mackhunt

Phalaenopsis hybrids

Reserve champion Rhyncholaeliocattleya Karen Sunrise

Rhyncholaelia digbyana - nice to see this one

Awesome Rhynchostylis gigantea!

Some terete Vandas

These Dendrobiums are massive; easily as tall as me!

All the display plants

Tolumnia Erma Warne

Tolumnia Robsan (something) X T. memoria Ralph Yagi something...illegible tag

Tolumnia Sniffen X T. Kinnaree

Unidentified Phalaenopsis hybrid

The biggest flowers I have ever seen on a Vanda: V. Alice's Thomas

Vanda Fuch's Sunset X V. Keereeboon - stunning yellow!

Vanda miniatum

Vanda Pakchong Blue 'Kultana'

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I'm back...but I am in Australia now!

I can't believe that it has been almost a year to the day that I last posted an update on the blog. My entire world turned upside down last year after the birth of my son and my family and I also made the decision to relocate to Australia. We are now living in Townsville in Queensland and we have just been here for a month. I have taken up a PhD at JCU which will be keeping me busy for quite a while, and I have also joined the Townsville Orchid Society. The society recently had their winter show. I was there this past Saturday spending far too much money and also taking some photos of the amazing plants on show! I bought a couple of orchids to start me off in Australia: Rhynchostylis gigantea alba, Dendrobium candystripe (for the wife), Dendrobium crumenatum, Renanthera citrina, and Bulbophyllum Doris Dukes.

A HUGE thank you to my friends Patrick and Richard for taking on many of my orchids that I had a hard time parting with. It is good to know that they are with such caring and knowledgeable orchid growers.
Bulbophyllum Doris Dukes

Dendrobium candystripe

Rhynchostylis gigantea alba