Dendrochilum magnum – 365 days of orchids – day 1704

This week the whole greenhouse has been filled with the scent of our giant Dendrochilum magnum. Today seemed like a good day to take a photo of it with some of our year 7 and year 8 students but as you can see most of them were rather lost behind the plant that is more than 2m across and 1m high.

Reece counted the flower spikes at 106 each with around 90 flowers – that is nearly 10 000 flowers each 1cm across

The flowers are really fragrant with a smell has been described by visitors as ‘lovely’, ‘horrible’ and ‘weird’ reflecting its rather odd and hard to pin down fragrance. I rather like the scent which is reminiscent of grass and toilet cleaner – but nicer than that makes it sound.

Interestingly the flowers come out green and over a few days change to a golden yellow.

The species is native to the Philippines where it grows in mossy forest from 1600 to 2000m and we find it appreciates heavy watering throughout the year and it enjoys conditions in our Warm Asia section although it would grow cooler. It grows quickly into a sizeable plant and is a really rewarding species to grow. We grow our large plant in a vegetable crate going free at the market and the combination of heavy watering and free drainage seem to suit it very well.


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