Bulbophyllum purpascens -365 days of orchids- day 1614


To complete our week of May flowering orchids that we have seen on our expeditions we have this lovely little Bulbophyllum. 631259

Bulbophyllum purpurascens is a relatively common species in Sarawak and we came across the species in several reserves in Borneo. It has just opened its flowers in the greenhouse this morning and it reminds me of the canopy walkway in Mulu National Park, Sarawak.

In October 2019 students enjoyed a 400m journey through the tree tops of Mulu’s diverse lowland rainforest. If you missed our reports at the time some of the best bits are here: Mammals,  Insectsreptiles and amphibians and Paphiopedilum sanderianum

High above the forest floor and the rivers below we found orchids and Pygmy Squirrels. One of the orchids was today’s Bulbophyllum purpurascens (below) growing on the timber frame of the walkway towers.

This pretty little bulbophyllum has an unlikely name meaning the purple bulbophyllum but this refers to the purplish colour of the leaves not the light yellow flowers!

The species is native to Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia where it grows as an epiphyte in evergreen montane forest from around 900-1700 m and we find it does well in our Warm Asia section (min 17C) either mounted, in pots, or like the plant flowering today, in baskets.

I am delighted to note that some of the world’s more common orchid species, like todays orchid, are also the most lovely 🙂



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