This wonderful orchid species is a great reminder of our visits to Laos and a tale of two bulbophyllums.
We came across Bulbophyllum lilacium on our first visit to Laos in 2005 with it’s distinct habit of bulbs separated by a long rhizome that let the plant wrap itself around the trunks of large trees and finally in 2011 we found it in flower in open regrowth forest near Paksong (see photo below)
The arching dense flowers are really attractive and are pinky (the name means lilac bulbophyllum). The plant here is growing in good light at 1000m altitude where it experiences warm wet summers, cool dry winters and a hot dry spring. We find that our seedling of the species has flourished in our Warm Asia section and this week it has flowered for the first time.
As a young plant with small bulbs the rhizome between bulbs was very small but last year it showed its true character by growing the new bulb (with the flower0 several cm from the last bulb and promptly rooted itself firmly to the plant below which is the miniature species Bulbophyllum dolichoglottis. We now have two bulbophyllums growing together which is happens in the forests around Paksong too. We will post Bulbophyllum dolichoglottis tomorrow!
We will now be looking for a suitable new mount for our Bulbophyllum lilacium so that it can do its thing and look as majestic as the plant we photographed in Laos.