Herbarium Digital Library


Category: Articles
Date Posted: 2006-10-18

Pholidota imbricata, THE "NECKLACE" ORCHID, is extensively distributed throughout the Malaysian area, including the Philippines and is a common and variable species. Its pseudo-bulbs are ovoid, somewhat grooved up to four inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide, crowned by one stiff plicate-rounded leaf, with distinct parallel veins. The flowering racemes are eight to fifteen inches long, pendulant, and develop forty to seventy closely set whitish waxy flowers, alternately arranged in a necklace-like fashion, a characteristic responsible for its common name. Each flower is less than one-half inch wide, and has accompanying hood-shaped, brownish bracts which remain on the stalk after the flowers have fallen. The triangular pair of sepals of the flowers are prominently ridged in the middle and the saccate lip is three-lobed with a fleshy middle lobe that has two winglike appendages. Within the labellum, (there is almost always a drop of moisture which has been secreted by the lip.

This plant flowers during September and October and the pendant racemes last for about a month or more. Before opening, the flower scape is a compact "rat's tail" growth with overlapping scales resulting from the bracts. This characteristic scale-like appearance of the scapc is responsible for the generic name Pholidota which is derived from the Greek for "scale" and "ear," as well as the specific name imbricata which also refers to this effect and means overlapping.

The genus Pholidota is a small one with about twentythree species native to the Indo-Malay area. Of the three species, which have been reported from the Philippines, the one discussed above is most common. This plant has been reported from almost all of the major islands from sea level to five thousand feet elevation.

The authors have collected it from Palawan near Puerta Princesa, growing on the trees as an aerial and from the hillsides near Bontoc, Mountain Province, Luzon, growing as a terrestrial. In cultivation, the plant can be grown in a pot with pieces of broken crock and humus. The plant requires considerable moisture during its growing season and should be grown exposed to sunlight for a good portion of the day.

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