Coelogyne pandurata {the black orchid}

May 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Coelogyne pandurata {black orchid}

Coelogyne pandurata {black orchid} at Kipandi Butterfly Park.

This specie, the “Black Orchid”, inhabits the lowlands of Borneo, often forming massive clumps on tree trunks along river banks next to rainforest. It is also popular in cultivation because of its large green flowers which have an almost black, violin shaped labellum. Much sought after by hybridizers. {Photographed at Kipandi Butterfly Park, 36km from Kota Kinabalu.}

Coelogyne is a large and diverse genus of over 200 sympodial epiphytes of Asian origin and distributed from Nepal to China and Malaysa, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Fiji islands, with the main centers in Borneo, Sumatra and the Himalayas. They can be found from tropical lowland forests to montane rainforests. A few species grow as terrestrials or even as lithophytes in open, humid habitats.

The scientific name is derived from the Greek words koilos (hollow) and gyne (woman), referring to the concave stigma. This genus lacks the saccate base of the labellum, a typical characteristic which is present in the other genera in the subtribe Coelogyninae.

The free lip has high lateral lobes along the basal part of the labellum (hypochile) and smooth, toothed or warty keels. Most of this showy genus have white or green flowers with contrasting labellums displaying many brown markings in them.

The plants produce one or two leaves and often flower from pendent inflorescences produced with new growth. About half the species are in cultivation. A few are commonly called ‘necklace orchids’, because of their long, pendant and multi flowered inflorescence. They often have a sweet scent, attracting different kinds of pollinators, such as bees, wasps and beetles.

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