Thai Orchids At A Glance Rss feed Twitter button Facebook button

At least once in a lifetime we're bound to get crazy about something. Many years ago, I went completely bananas while going past plant shops. Although I've always found orchids really beautiful, at that time, I couldn't help but keep buying orchid plants to put in my garden.

I'm lucky to be in Thailand where Thai domestic orchids can be as cheap as a dollar a plant! Actually, in the past, orchids were rare and only a small number of wealthy people could afford them.

Prof. Rapee Sakarik has been the most influential person regarding domestic orchids in Thailand. He has devoted his life to enable anyone to enjoy these exotic flowers.

Certain purple orchids in Thailand look like velvet
He's produced a substantial amount of work and has shared his professional knowledge of Thai orchids in many articles and books, one of which I use as a reference for this post.

Orchid Types

Orchids originated in Asia and in the Pacific region. There are 4 types of orchids, based on their natural surroundings and root systems:

1. Terrestrial orchids - orchids that naturally grow in the ground.

2. Semi-terrestrial orchids - orchids that naturally grow in the ground that has decayed leaves and rocks on the surface.

Orchid growing in a wooden basket in Thailand
3. Semi-epiphytic orchids - orchids that naturally grow on wood, rock or in the ground that has a thick layer of decayed leaves accumulated on the surface.

The orchids in this category includes Cattleya and Dendrobium.

4. Epiphytic orchids – orchids that have aerial roots.

Vanda belongs to this category.

Dendrobium Orchid

Dendrobium, in the 3rd category, is widely sold at orchid shops round Thailand because they're easy to care for and bloom many times a year. This is my favorite kind of orchid!

Orchid in Thai is called glue-i mai and the name for Dendrobium is waai, which literally means rattan. We call Dendrobium glue-i mai wai.

Thai orchids are world famous
The Dendrobium orchids don't have a taproot but feature parallel lines on the leaves, just like grass. The orchid flowers grow along the stem.

Each flower has 2 sets of petals; inner and outer layers. The inner layer petals consist of two normal petals on either side and a lip. The lip, which is in the center, is usually distinct.

The outer layer petals are made up of 3 petal-like sepals - top, lower right and lower left. The petals' shapes and sizes, as well as the color of the flowers, vary from species to species.

All the flowers that grow on each stem are of the same color.

The dendrobium orchid is easy to grow
Some species yield flowers with a single color, while other species have a few colors within each flower. The most common color of cut orchids on the Thai market is purple and white.

The flower at the bottom of the stem blooms first and the flowers higher up continue to bloom gradually until the last flower at the top of the stem opens up. This whole process takes from several days to a number of weeks, depending on how many orchids there are on the stem.

Only a few of these orchids are fragrant, but they're beautiful to look at and stay fresh for a long time...

Suggested Reading:   Orchid Tips   Amazing Coconut Palms

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