Monday, 21 September 2009

Coelogyne asperata

(Photo 1) Newly opened stalk of flowers

Coelogyne asperata is another beautiful scented orchid found growing on tree branches and rock faces near rivers in the primary forests of Borneo. (See my earlier posts - Perfume in the Jungle and Pigeon Orchid.) It is also found in many parts of Southeast Asia - Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Philippines, the Moluccas, Solomon Islands and all the way to Papua New Guinea. Alas, as with many other beautiful native plants, it is no longer very common in the wild as more of our forests disappear.
Flies (Photo 2) and a brightly coloured day-flying moth (Photo 3) attracted to the flowers

My photos were taken in my garden where this one plant had lived for years, flowering every once in a long while. Each time it does, whiffs of perfume announce to all and sundry that it's in bloom. Many insects were attracted by the sweet scent - flies, bees, beetles, moths. Many day flying moths and beetles were observed at the flowers but I believe only the bigger flower beetle (Coleoptera - Cetoniidae) that I photographed was an effective pollinator - and I say so because it was seen with the orchid's pollinia (pollens) stuck to its back as it crawled into the lips and column of the flower.
Photo 4 - An equally beautifully coloured flower beetle that's just landed on the flower
Photo 5 - The beetle has crawled into the "heart" of the flower to get at its nectar and
come out with pairs of pollinia stuck to its back (Photo 6) which it would carry to
another flower's stigma to fertilize it.