Yesterday morning at 7.30am the weather station told me that the outdoor temperature was -3.8 degrees C when I arrived at School. Fortunately it was much warmer inside the greenhouse, and this species brought back lovely memories of our 2019 visit to Sarawak where we saw this species growing in lowland forest near the coast at Bako National Park(below)
We arrived at Bako by boat and waded ashore (below) You can see the forest home of Cleisostoma subulatum at the top of the beach.
The forest at Bako was quite open but Cleisostoma subulatum was growing low down on tree trunks and lower branches in shade. Cleisostoma is a lovely genus and plants have very diverse leaves but very similar flowers. The flowers all have their spurs protruding from their buds well before they open.
Cleisostoma subulatum is a medium sized plant that can grow really large over time, as some of the plants at Bako had, with long pendulous spikes of small flowers that open successively. The species is found from Sikkim in the Himalayas through South east Asia to Malaysia and the Philippines where it grows as an epiphyte in lowland forest up to 500m altutide.
Watering the greenhouse I could almost feel the warm waters of the South China Sea lapping around my feet – The illusion quickly vanished when I stepped outside into the January frost brrrrrrrrrr