Species of the Month – May 2016
Bulbophyllum lasiochilum C.S.P.Parish & Rchb.f.
Commonly known as ‘Shaggy lipped Bulbophyllum’. The name Bulbophyllum lasiochilum refers to ‘Bulbos’ meaning Bulb and ‘phyllos’ meaning leaf and ‘lasios’ meaning woolly, hairy and ‘cheilos’ meaning labrum, referring to the long hairs on the sides of the labellum.
Distribution: It is distributed in India, Myanmar, Thailand & Malaysia. The genus Bulbophyllum is the largest in the family of Orchidaceae with about 3000 species distributed widely in the tropics and to some extent in temperate zones.
Plant & Habit: This is somewhat miniature sized warm to intermediate growing species. The plant has pseudobulbs which are ovoid in shape and about 2 cm in length. The pseudobulbs are spaced at 3 cm apart on a creeping rhizome. These bulbs bear a single, apical oblong ovate leaf of about 5 cm long. The inflorescence is erect, single flowered with a purple spotted scape. The dorsal sepal is linear and lanceolate bending forward; the lateral ones are curved. The tri-lobed labellum is purple color and the lateral lobes have hairs on them. The solitary flower which blooms in the fall from the matured pseudobulb has a stalk of about 4 cm length. The unusual flower which has a shape of two round legs catches the attention. Flowers are waxy and are fragrant and carries scent of strawberries. There are two color forms in the species.
Culture: This is relatively an easy to grow species. They do well when mounted on a slab or can be grown in pots also with lots of water. Watering must be abundant and frequent. They need bright light with as much as 2500 foot candles, bright but indirect light. Though the plant does not have a distinct resting period, reducing the water during winter will be appropriate. When potted they prefer good drainage, but they need constant moisture levels to do well especially in Bangalore conditions. Preferably shallow baskets with free draining material with wads of sphagnum moss will help to maintain moisture levels. They like to be in warm conditions but with lots of air circulation.
The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention).
Few hybrids with B. lasiochilum as parent are,
Bulbophyllum ‘Emily Siegerist’ is cross between Bulbo. Elizabeth Ann x B. lasiochilum
Bulbo. ‘Cheryl Kurizaki’ is a cross between B. lasiochilum x B. fascinator
Bulbo. ‘Wayne Oyama’ is a cross between B. lasiochilum x B. putidum
Bulbo.’Meen Viper Fangs’ is a cross between B. lasiochilum x B.medusae
Article and Photos by: Dr. K.S. Shashidhar