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A spray of splendour

AN unusual monopodial plant, having erect slender stems with a few narrow leaves, the orchid Arundina gramini folia is originally from the forests of China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Strangely, in Malaysia it is also found along the roadsides, giving rise to its common name the "Tapah Weed".


Dendrobium Hiang Beauty ... a typical beginner's plant.

Growing up to about 4.5 feet tall, it needs to be staked to prevent it from falling over. A group of plants looks grand as the plant bears only two or three flowers, at the tip of its stems.

The flower is about 2 inches in size, but smaller varieties too exist. The sepals and lateral petals are usually white or light pinkish purple. The lip is like a tube, and is reddish purple, with an orange throat.

The plant thrives in the sun, in compost-filled beds. As all orchids do, it needs plenty of water. A hardy and easy plant to grow, its beauty is in its rare statuesque appearance, as opposed to most orchids that flower in racemes.

The orchid Dendrobium Hiang Beauty also goes by the common name "Pale Face" by virtue of its pastel shade. The dendrobium is an epiphyte, living on trees. Sympodial in nature, which means the plant has connected stems which cease growth after flowering, the dendrobium has pseudobulbs at the base.


Arundina gramani folia ... a native of the Far East.

Very hardy and a typical beginners' plants, this orchid thrives in semi-shaded areas, in pots of brick or charcoal, with frequent watering.

Division is done by separating the clump of pseudobulbs, with new plants easily established. Thus, investing in one plant soon makes for plenty.

The Hiang Beauty is about 2.5 inches in size, with white sepals. The lateral petals are white with purple veins. The edges have darker tips. A spray of these flowers is ideal as cut flowers, lasting upto two weeks and well worth the cost.

Text and pictures by
RUPA GOPAL

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