Of Epiphytes and Orchids

“They are pigeon orchids!”, Mrs Chee from Education Programmes Division shared with me when I emailed her a picture of some pretty white flowers that I found at our lovely Ecogarden.

pigeon orchid

Things always happen on hindsight. It was only after Mrs Chee told me so, that I realised that yes, they suddenly look orchid-like. Weird how our perspectives can sometimes be blinded until someone comes along and enlighten us!

These pretty white flowers have caught my attention because they were growing off a host plant, the Chinese Fan Palm, so I thought it must be some form of creeper, just like the Morning Glory. Now that I realised what they are, and read more about them, everything starts to make sense.

The reason why the pigeon orchids are growing off another plant, is because they are epiphytes. This means they grows upon another plant non-parasitically. Sometimes, it could be upon some other object. That explains why I thought they are creepers.

I searched further and I found that the pigeon orchid is the most common epiphyte in Singapore, and can be seen on many roadside trees! Now, I am going to be more alert and look out for them on the streets. It seems like they will flower 9 days after a heavy rainstorm, so since it just rained heavily yesterday, we might see them flowering in about more than a week’s time! If you see them, try smelling them too. According to Mrs Chee, they give off a fragrant smell!

An interesting find for me this week. Hope it interests you a bit too!

[Note: I have also blogged about my thoughts of our Ecogarden at Science Centre Singapore. You can read about it here.]

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