Of course there is the beautiful Golden Orchid Dendrobium discolor.
And if you know where to look the rare lutino form of golden orchid, the canary yellow Dendrobium discolor variety broomfieldii.
Then there’s interesting orchids like the spider orchid Dendrobium tetragonum variety giganteum.
There are also endangered species like the beautiful Swamp orchid Phaius tankervilleae.
And the endangered blue orchid Dendrobium nindii.
But I’m not focussed on these great native plants today as I want to introduce you to the largest orchid species in the world Grammatophyllum speciosum commonly known as the tiger or giant orchid.
This exotic plant is not native to Australia but seems very happy growing as a garden plant here!
To be honest my plant is a baby when you consider that this species can weigh well over a tonne in the wild. It’s about 15 years old and this is its second flowering (and yes I am very patient at times).
Orchid species.com had this to say about Grammatophyllum speciosum.
A large epiphyte and occasional lithophyte occuring in lowland forests near streams and rivers at elevations of 100 to 1200 meters in Myanamar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Moluccas, the Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Bismark Islands, Papua and New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and is recorded to be the heaviest orchid in the world and is capable of becoming huge in cultivation.
They have erect to spreading, very long, cylindric, yellowish with age, many ridged and noded pseudobulbs enveloped completely by leafless and leaf-bearing sheaths and carrying thin textured, distichous, linear or ovate, obtuse or acute, decurved in apical half leaves that are articulated to the basal leaf sheaths and blooms in the fall and early winter as well as in the summer and have a 4 to 10 foot [120 to 300 cm] long, basal, erect to arching, racemose, many flowered inflorescence that carry 30 to 50 sometimes fragrant, waxy, successively opening, long-lasting flowers with the lowest flowers being imperfect and distant.
This species has erect,spreading or drooping psuedobulbs that can be up to 3 meters long and leaves that go well up the stem giving them more of a palm tree look. Can be slow to bloom, plants need to be large and have a lot of backbulbs and even still the orchid can be sporadic, at best, to bloom. This species is often found in conjunction with ants and may benefit from their presence.
Thank you orchid species.com and you can check out some of their photos here.
Back to my plant an interesting feature of this species is the way its first few flowers are always malformed.
At the beginning its single flower spike was nothing to write home about. This photo was taken on 11 December 2009.
By 24 December 2009 it was starting to look quite handsome.
By 2 January 2010 it was really looking good
And today I think I will call it quits with photographing this plant!
Oh before I go here is a little photo of the plant with a bucket next to it for scale!
When it gets as big as the giant 2-ton plant displayed in crystal palace in 1851 I will really have something to blog about!
Ps please note I have used commonly used older scientific names for many of the native orchids as anyone who looks them up further on the net or in books will have half a chance that way!