SHOWY SPECIOSUM

A very popular orchid grown in culture in South Australia is the epiphytic/lithophytic Dendrobium speciosum.  It is a showy species with a heady perfume.

Dendrobium speciosum
Dendrobium speciosum (Rock Lily, Rock Orchid) in culture

This species ranges along the eastern seaboard from Queensland just peeking into Victoria.  There are nine variations each with its own unique distribution.

Map source The Rock Lily Man

But not only is it popular in South Australia, it is popular throughout the country.  The whole of the 2006 September issue of the Orchadian was devoted to a single article on D. speciosum.  The March 2016 Orchadian has three articles plus references to D. speciosum in other articles.

And then there is Gerry Walsh who is so passionate about this species that he has a comprehensive website – The Rock Lily Man – devoted to it.  Explore and enjoy his website.

 

Calliope Range, Sept 2005
Photo source The Rock Lily Man

The Orchid Club of South Australia has produced a fact sheet for growing this species in South Australia.

 

 

Confucius’ thoughts on Orchids

Confucius was an admirer of orchids and in this quote he captures the quality of the epiphytes in this eloquent translation*:

The orchid grows where others cannot enduring the hardships of hunger and thirst, and is loosely tied to the things that support it.  And, even with all the difficulty of its life, the orchid graces the world with beautiful colour and rare fragrance.  This is like the life of the true gentleman, who sets himself to learn self-discipline, and whose character shines no matter where he is or what he experiences.

Though he never saw an Australian epiphytic orchid, the description holds true as can be seen in these three pictures from among the many species found on the eastern seaboard.

Sarcochilus falcatus
Sarcochilus falcatus (Orange Blossom Orchid)
Dendrobium speciosum
Dendrobium speciosum (Sydney Rock Orchid)
Dockrilla linguiformis
Dockrilla linguiformis (Tongue Orchid)

 

 

 

 

 

 

*From The Fragrance of the Unread Poem by Jonathon Steffan http://www.jonathansteffen.com/the-fragrance-of-the-unread-poem/ Accessed 10:04pm 30th June 2014