Helping out to make a greener earth

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Taiwan's Gems: Phalaenopsis Orchids, Part 1

Visiting Taiwan without noticing a single phalaenopsis in bloom is very very unlikely.  Phals are everywhere:  malls, shops, offices, banks, stores, homes, etc.  And the good thing is, the prices are very affordable and the quality extremely high.

Taiwan IS the mother lode of phalaenopsis production.  It is said that more than 50% of all the phalaenopsis traded worldwide came from this country.  For us filipinos, this is not such a good situation considering that our country is high on the list of the sources of genetic materials that were used to produce these extremely beautiful blooms from which Taiwan is making tons of dollars now.

There are so many photographs that I will be posting them as a series again.  I have tried to group the photos by flower size and color so as to put a system. Due to advancements in breeding sometimes the line gets a bit confused but since I am not putting in the registered names (the sellers could not understand me and there are no labels anyway) I hope that you can just enjoy the beauty of the flowers and not be too fuzzy with the names.

These photos were taken of plants displayed in the stalls in the Holiday Market and at an orchid shop in a small (not more than 1,000 sq.m. total area) complex made up of a number of small plant shops.  A lot of these plants are so well grown and the flowers are award quality.  I will not be surprised if I am informed that these are clones of awarded plants.

So let us start with the basics, white flowers, large to small -

The white beauty to the right is more than two feet long and the flowers are almost saucer sized.  One cannot help but admire the care that was given to this plant, clearly visible from the quality of the leaves to the damage free condition of the spike of flowers. Transporting plants with such long spikes will require considerable attention to details as a single wrong move would easily bruise the flowers.

At the left photo, we have the same spike on the right side with a shorter spike for comparison.

In ordinary competitions in Manila, the one to the left would already be considered for an award while the one on the right will be a strong contender for best phalaenopsis in show or even best orchid in show.

In Taiwan however, the competition is much tougher and past winners have been a meter long with excellent flower quality to boot.

Awed as I am with the large  white phals, I found the white miniatures quite intriguing.  These are crosses of the white form of phalaenopsis equestris which is native to the Philippines.  While the flowers are small, there are numerous flowers on a branching spike.

The first white miniature that I saw in the weekend market was a real charmer but I had very little time  then so the colored ones got the most of my attention.  However, in the garden compound where I had more time on my hands, I found myself going back to a group of white miniatures pictured right.

These were arranged in a ceramic pot ready to be given away as a gift.  The plants were sufficiently spaced which showcased each flower spike quite well.

On closer inspection, the flowers were not pure white but has a very slight tinge of pink which gave them a more delicate air, as may be seen in the close-up photo to the left.

Due to the complex breedings being done, sometimes very interesting results are obtained.  Below is the flower of a miniature plant, judging from the leaf/plant size but with flowers that are more on the medium size (about 2.5 inches wide).  In a short while I am sure there will be miniature plants with standard large flowers!

Next post, we will have the pinks.

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