Regulars will know that we have several odd little bulbophyllum species – but we think that this is the oddest.
Bulbophyllum physomentrum is totally unique with a strange balloon like appendage dangling between the tiny flowers.
Students have studied the three sided ‘balloon’ and it appears 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. The ‘balloon’ and the flowers swing about in the slightest breeze and this has to be a pollination strategy worth studying? Our guesses include a fungus mimic to attract fungus gnats? or 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 section and spray it daily.