Habenaria elatus – 365 days of orchids – day 1048


Today we have another very exciting orchid from Mulu. Henry, our guide, had never seem this orchid, and there seems very little information on it, other than it is endemic to Sarawak lowland forest. The plant is very stately and around 1m tall with relatively large flowers that show up well in the dark of the tall wet forests. I would suggest that it is pollinated by moths with its pale colours and long spur.

Habenaria species are terrestrial orchids found across the tropical world and we have seen several species in Brazilian rainforest. There are some cultivated species but most, like this one, can only been seen in their natural habitat.



Some orchids of Bako


We found around twenty orchid species on Baku with several in flower. These are two Cleisostoma species, Cleisostoma teretifolium growing in dry scrubby forest on a plateau at 100m altitude, and the very familiar Cleisostoma subulatum (we grow it at school) growing in coastal swamp forest.

Also in swamp forest we found Pomatocalpa diffusum in full flower. This is a large growing epiphyte with a large number of small flowers on branched spikes.

In contrast Bulbophyllum grudense is tiny. It has 5mm bulbs and a 1cm leaf with 5mm dark red bell shaped single flowers – well worth hunting for.



Bako – pigs and snakes!

An animal we saw several times today was the bearded pig – or in this case a bearded pig and a stubbly piglet. They are found across Borneo but are persecuted by farmers and hunted outside the national parks.

We have met Bornean Pit Vipers before (on Monday in fact) at Mulu and we found them here in swamp forest near the start of our trek. As usual they didn’t seem at all bothered by our proximity and multiple cameras. Wonderful animals. Another reptile on the walk was the Borneo Skink (Dasia vittata) which we have also seen in Mulu.