This wonderful orchid species is a great reminder of our visits to Laos and the wonderful Bulbophyllums of South East Asia.
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 now flowers every year.
As a young plant with small bulbs the rhizome between bulbs was very small but now that it is mature it has shown its true character by growing each new bulb several cm from the last bulb and promptly rooting itself firmly to any other plants in the vicinity. We now have three bulbophyllum species growing together which often happens in the forests around Paksong too.
We need to find a mount similar to the trunk of the tree we found the species living on in Loas!