March 17, 2008

Japanese Native Orchids - Shogunbutsu

Dendrobium moniliforme

Dendrobium moniliforme

Cymbidium goerengii

Cymbidium goeringii

Neofinetia falcata'

As many of you know, I grow few orchids, but what I do collect and grow are the species native to Japan which it seems the Japanese only grow, and very few westerners. These include the genus Neofinetia, the species Dendrobium moniliforme, and the species Cymbidium goringii. Orchis graminifolia, Calanthe species and Liparis round out the more common Japanese orchids grown by the Japanese who have grown these species for hundreds of years, and who, over time, have evolve the art and cultivation for each of these species to include elaborate techniques involving pottery, sphagnum potting material style and display. Without going into tremendous detail, these species are worth seeking out and researching, since their history and culture is absolutely amazing and practically unknown in the west.

It amazed me that here in Japan, one can walk through rows and rows of two inch pots of Dendrobium moniliforme, and see most every balcony contain the tiny pots with clean globes of perfectly white sphagnum moss, all topped off with a perfect tiny neofinetia 'wind orchid'.

Just when you think you've seen it all, there is an entirely new world of plants and culture to discover. These orchids all have a deep history to the Japanese, one that involves the Samurai, the Edo period and the fact that these are some of the first potted plants ever cultivated by man. As my friend said, as she toured the displays " I can;t beleive they filled a stadium up with dead plants for people to take pictures of!", But these are orchids that are cool or cold growing, and they bloom often before thier new foliage comes out, so take the time to learn more about them, and if you are interested in getting any, there are a few sources in the US who carry them such as Barry Yinger's Asiatica.com

1 comment :

  1. Interesting photos. Most of Japan is either remarkable in the consistency of cold in winter - Tokyo is zone 9 and has Canary Island date palms - or has ample and predictable snow cover. Nurseries call a lot of them zn 7 hardy but I really wonder how they would cope with a winter like '85 or even '94 (in mid-atlantic zn 7 where I garden). Still I'll probably try one sooner or later.


It's always a good thing to leave a comment!