Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Riveted to the ground

Most orchids are epiphytic or aerial by nature. They are either rooted on limbs of living trees, on other plants, on driftwoods, or on any decorative containers that are suspended above the ground so that their their roots are exposed to the air where they can freely gather nourishment from their environment.

A closer look at the flower of the Philippine Ground orchid

But there are orchids which are just as happy to dig their roots down to the ground for support and food. These are called terrestrial orchids. One of them is Spathoglottis plicata or Philippine Ground orchid (or Large Purple orchid). The name is misleading since it is also native to other countries. And it comes in different colors so the alternate name doesn't really fit either. My thought only.

When the plant is not in bloom, you might mistake it for a tender seedling of a young palm tree. This ground orchid is easy to grow but still, in some places, it is considered endangered while in others, invasive.

In our garden, however, it is not endangered. In fact it's happily growing and multiplying. And if it ever invades other parts of our garden then we'll be just as happy to take care of it. But if it decides to invade the area where the goats roam, then the goats will be as happy too to devour it.