Bulbophyllum physomentrum- 365 days of orchids – day 911

The orchid family is full of unusual adaptations but this little bulbophyllum is really unique with a strange balloon like appendage dangling between the tiny flowers.

Looking closely at the three sided ‘balloon’ it appeas to be a modified flower with the inflated part being an infertile seed pod and the remnants of a flower at the end of it. Anyway, the ‘balloon’ and the flowers swing about in the slightest breeze and this has to be a pollination strategy worth studying? Is it a fungus mimic to attract fungus gnats? is it a larvae mimic attracting a predator?

The species was described in 2017 and comes from Thailand. It is a miniature with bulbs up to 1cm acrss and two 1cm leaves. It sprawls across its mount and flowers come from the base of mature bulbs.

We grow the species mounted in our warm Asia and spray it daily.


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