The Orchid House, Kandy Botanical Gardens
Just as a few spots of rain began to fall we entered the Orchid House.
Fifteen minutes later the heavens opened and we heard several enormous claps of thunder. All of a sudden there were many people who became really, really interested in orchids as they ran in seeking shelter.
We had planned to spend the day bimbling about the massive gardens and save the Orchid House until last – good plan as it turned out, as soon as we stepped in, wow – colour in front and to the right, in fact masses of plants on all four sides and all around the central water feature. Mostly undercover, the rain and puddles did not get in the way of our enjoyment. We saw miniatures, blooms as big as our palm and many new varieties, some old favourites – Bear’s number one is the final picture.
I was undecided, but I did like the Holy Ghost Orchid because of its unique shape (and a delicate fragrance) and one in a purple and dark pink colour, just because I thought it was so different from the rest. The Holy Ghost or Dove Orchid (Peristeria elata) is a terrestrial in growth habit and produces very large pseudobulbs with an erect inflorescence two metres in height. The cup shape flowers are waxy and reach five centimetres in diameter. The flowers are white with small flacks of red on the petals and lip. It is the national flower of Panama.
A couple of miniatures. Ascocendi miniature and Habenaria crinifera.
Sri Lanka has about 188 identified species of orchids (the most in Asia) ranging over 78 genera. 74 species are endemic to Sri Lanka and many species found in the country are quite rare. The highest concentration of orchids is found in the submontane areas of the wet zone. The sheer number of orchids in Sri Lanka is one of the reasons that the island is named as one of the top twenty-five biodiversity hotspots in the world. All Sri Lankan Orchids fall under the protection of the Fauna & Flora Protection Ordinance. There are 110 species of orchid in Kandy alone.
Worldwide the three largest flowering plant families containing the greatest number of species are the sunflower family (Asteraceae) with about 24,000 species, the orchid family (Orchidaceae) with about 20,000 species (including vanilla for our ice cream) and the pea family (Fabaceae) with 18,000 species. Amazing to think there are twice as many orchids as there are bird species.
ALL IN ALL NATURE’S TRUE BEAUTIES
AN AMAZING NUMBER OF VARIETIES