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Bulbophyllum physometrum

Discussion in 'Orchid Species' started by pcolman, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Even for a bulbo, this one is weird. Early on as the spike develops it looks like it might be just another cirrhopetalum type, but one of the buds (it always seems to be only one) starts forming what seems to be a balloon-like sterile seed pod. It appears to be completely hollow—it's quite translucent against the light. The "balloon" is about 3/4" long. The actual flowers are less than 1/8" across.

    I like the pseudobulbs, they resemble peeled tangerines.

    I got this plant from Popow last summer. Cultural info is pretty scarce, but I've been giving it medium light, intermediate to warm, daily watering. It started growing almost immediately—this is the first bloom since then.

    Bulbophyllum physometrum.jpg Bulbophyllum physometrum flowers.jpg Bulbophyllum physometrum closep.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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  2. Kipper

    Kipper CoffeeCoffeeCoffee... Supporting Member

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    Very Cool! Great photos too, and I agree the bulbs are lovely.
     
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Weird and wonderful! Love it.
     
  4. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

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    So neat! I got one from popow too. I'm growing mine cool, and it is growing well. We'll see if I can get it to bloom.
     
  5. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to know what the deal is with that extra floral part.
     
  6. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Wonderful and bizarre. Thanks for the post.
     
  7. seidenfaden

    seidenfaden Well-Known Member

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  8. AnonYMouse

    AnonYMouse aka Ree, the not-so-stealthy lurker

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    Thanks for posting! I needed this.

    I acquired mine last month at POE and it's got a spike. I was thinking the spike is awfully tiny but looking at your pic, I can see how it will develop. I'm growing mine medium/intermediate on tree fern with a pad of sphag. Now, I just have to keep it from blasting or accidents!

    I don't know who I acquired it from since the vendor didn't have signage displayed (yet) and was still unpacking (they were in the corner beyond Andy's). I can say who it wasn't.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  9. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    That's Tropical Exotique, Marni was there helping Manote organize?

     
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  10. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, Tropical Exotique from Thailand had it for sale.
     
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  11. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    It turn out that the tiny vestigial flower at the end of the "balloon" isn't so vestigial. It opened up a few days later and is appears to have a lip and column and all the usual parts, just on a very small scale. It's about 1/16" across. I'm afraid I'd need a more specialized macro setup to get more detail.

    Bulbophyllum physometrum balloon flower closeup.jpg
     
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  12. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    That's absolutely fascinating!
     
  13. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    Curiouser and curiouser.
     
  14. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the great image!!!
     
  15. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the follow-up. Really cool.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Orchids are considered the "great mimics" in the plant world, so I'm guessing that the balloon structure with tiny flower at the end is meant to lure a pollinator away from a similar-looking plant, but the thing has evolutionarily "learned" it doesn't need to expend the resources to do so with the entire inflorescence, as the "sucker" bug, having come over, hits the others as well.

    Either that, or it's a matter of maturity that determines the "balloon percentage".

    It is extremely cool, whatever the case may be.
     
  17. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Very cool, I wonder if they are functionally male and female flowers (the middle one). It would be interesting to know about the pollination biology of this species!
     
  18. Chuck-NH

    Chuck-NH Well-Known Member

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    Great plant pcolman:clap:. I saw these at POE as well and didn't get one :(. Just assumed was a warm grower. I'll have to try one next time I see it. That being said, did find quite a few int-cool Bulbophyllums from the vendor mentioned above and they did come home with me.
     
  19. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    This plant has grown well in the past year. It has bloomed a few times on and off since last fall, but now a little more. Aside from the too open inflorescences, 3 more are developing.

    Bulbophyllum physometrum 03.05.19_02.jpg Bulbophyllum physometrum 03.05.19_01.jpg Bulbophyllum physometrum flowers_03.05.19.jpg
     
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  20. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    Such a marvelous species and you've done so well with it. Thanks for sharing

    Your photos convinced me to try this and I got two last summer. One is now putting out a little spike. I placed one on bare cedar and another on bare cork - the roots seem to be short little things and I've had a few bulbs get a little shriveled. The cedar one is happier. Do you find the plant enjoys the moss underneath?