Dendrobium papilio creates one of the most luminous orchid flowers that I have every photographed, remarkably arising from the reed-thin canes — nearly 3 feet (1m) tall — with a just few wispy leaves (see photo below). I do not believe that I have much to offer in descriptive words that can expand upon or illuminates these photographs. The orchid speaks for itself.
Dendrobium papilio is native to the Philippines. There is nominally both a small-flowered and large-flowered form, but I’ve only seen the larger flower in-person. Our plants are from the Fischer strain, collected many decades ago in the wild, and these are third generation sibling crosses.
We grow Dendrobium papilio in our cool room with 50F (10C) nights in the winter, and summer high temperatures in the mid 80s (29C). Humidity is usually about 60-70%. Dendrobium papilio grows thick roots unlike most other Dendrobium, similar to a Phalaenopsis in form, but always contained (for us) in the pot. We use a 50/50 mix of fine Orchiata bark and small Growstones for media, watering bi-weekly for most of the year.
We have three primary hybrids of Dendrobium papilio in our collection: Dendrobium Pfeiff’s Kaledioscope (x Dendrobium lawesii), Dendrobium Le Papillon Rose (x Dendrobium glomeratum), and Dendrobium Eltonese (x Dendrobium victoria-reginae).
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My vision to create orchid portraits emerged from my appreciation for the “whole orchid.” So many photographs of orchids focus only on the flower. But orchids are not flowers: they are entire plants and living beings. Connect more deeply with the many dimensions of orchids …