Orchids at the Quail Botanical Gardens
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  #1  
Old 10-07-2008, 04:00 PM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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Default Orchids at the Quail Botanical Gardens

Vertical landscaping in milder climates such as here in Southern California is a concept whose time has come.

I've lived in Southern California for most of my life and have visited most of our botanical gardens. It was only just last year that somebody recommended that I visit the Quail Botanical Gardens which is located down in the San Diego Area. I wasn't expecting much but was really pleasantly surprised to find so many epiphytes, including orchids, mounted on their trees.

Of all the Southern California Botanical Gardens that I've visited...The Los Angeles Arboretum, The Huntington Gardens, Descanso Gardens, South Coast Botanical Gardens, The Fullerton Arboretum, UC Riverside Botanical Gardens and the Mildred Mathias Botanical Gardens at UCLA...only the Quail Botanical Gardens and the San Diego Zoo have established orchids in trees.

While San Diego does have a somewhat more milder climate than locations an hour or two north, temperature is not the limiting factor. The only botanical garden that I listed that does not have a robust tropical section is Descanso Gardens, which is located near the foothills. But even then, a friend of mine who is even higher up in the foothills still grows an impressive range of epiphytic orchids outdoors year around.

It's not really a matter of funding either. The Huntington Gardens spent over a million dollars to create a tropical conservatory. Yet, a nice older lady who is a member of my orchid society has a more impressive and natural looking display of orchids mounted on trees in her small backyard and I'd be surprised if she spent more than $200 for those orchids.

It's not really a matter of maintenance either. Orchids mounted on trees don't need to be re-potted and once a drip system ($25) is set up in a tree, watering requires very little effort. Pest inspection and eradication does require some time but not much more than other plants in a jungle exhibit garden.

It's not really a matter of relevance either...epiphytes play an essential and integral role in jungle ecosystems. With jungles being lost at an alarming rate it's important that all children and adult visitors to botanical gardens be educated about the role that epiphytes play and how marvelously adapted they are to growing on trees.

It's really a matter of know how and orchid selection, which is where our local orchid societies come in to play. Given that membership rates are declining for most, if not all, Southern Californian orchid societies it stands to reason that now is a good time to approach the nearest botanical garden and offer to create an exhibit of orchids mounted in trees. Hopefully such an exhibit will go a long way to help dispel the still popular notion that all orchids require greenhouse conditions to thrive. Ideally, an epiphyte exhibit should be created in conjunction with other plant societies such as fern societies and bromeliad societies.

If my memory serves me correctly, it was the San Diego Orchid Society that mounted the orchids several years ago at the Quail Botanical Gardens. Not sure if they mounted the other epiphytes as well. I'll send them a link to this thread and see if they can't help identify some of the orchids in the photos and provide a more accurate date for when they mounted the orchids on the trees.

The Quail Botanical Gardens just hosted the San Diego International Orchid Fair this past weekend. It's worth it just to visit the gardens so the show is really an added bonus. If you missed it then hopefully you'll mark it on your calendar for next year.

I'll place my photo comments beneath the photo so you can try and guess the orchid species. We'll see if your guess matches my own. If your guess is different than mine, please post your guess in a reply.




I'm pretty sure that's Dendrobium speciosum...perhaps var. hillii and maybe even 'Don Brown'. Dendrobium speciosum var. hillii is sometimes known as Dendrobium tarberi. Var. hillii is probably the largest form and is distinguished by its tall untapered canes and upright roots that form a basket to capture leaf litter. It's from Australia where it grows on rocks and trees. I've heard that it's found mainly on rocks because the ones in the trees often don't survive the frequent bush fires. It's one of the hardiest epiphytic orchids and easily makes my top 10 list of tolerant orchids. The one in the picture is a very large specimen and is growing on the asphalt? bank of a small stream.




This is an epiphytic fern that also produces a leaf litter capturing basket. I'm pretty sure it's a Drynaria but not too sure of the species... perhaps rigidula or quercifolia.




Based on the tag, this is Epidendrum falcatum. Looks like the mount it was one was just hung on the tree. Not sure if they bring it inside their greenhouse during winter. One very close relative that does great outdoors is Epidendrum parkinsonianum, which also has that neat pendant, downward growing habit.




This is super cool. Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated by strangler figs. The fruit of strangler figs are eaten by birds, which then poop the seeds high in the branches of other trees. The seed germinates and starts its life as an epiphyte. It grows slowly at first and sends its roots all the way down the trunk to the ground. Once the roots reach the ground it grows faster and sends out more roots that eventually envelop and strangle the host.

This ficus was obviously in a pot and placed in the crook of this tree, but you can see that its roots have already reached the ground and in several years it will completely envelop the tree that it was placed on. I'd like to shake the hand of whoever approved the plan to place the ficus there.




Here's some type of what looks like an Australian dendrobium in a Jacaranda tree. Probably a hybrid...maybe between speciosum and tetragonum? Not sure as I haven't looked much into hybrids. Hopefully some of our Australian members might have a better idea.




Here's what I believe to be another Dendrobium speciosum in the same Jacaranda tree.




Here's what probably is Encyclia adenocaula in the same Jacaranda tree.




This is another angle of the same Encyclia.




This is some type of Schomburgkia/Myrmecophila... probably either tibicinis or thomsoniana...which are two of the more commonly encountered types outdoors here in Southern California. It's in the same Jacaranda tree.




Here's another angle of the same Schomburgkia/Myrmecophila.




Here's a zoomed out picture of the Jacaranda tree.




This is most likely a Brazilian Laelia/Sophronitis... perhaps purpurata or tenebrosa.




Some type of Anthurium and Philodendron.




Another angle of the same tree.




Here's some epiphytes in a coniferous tree. Looks like an Anthurium, Platycerium, Bird's Nest Fern and Rhipsalis among others.




Here's a close up of the same tree.
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2008, 02:01 AM
Weebl Weebl is offline
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That's great. Thanks for sharing!
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2008, 06:08 AM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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The orchid I thought was some Australian Dendrobium cross looks very much like the Dendrobium jonesii (ruppianum) that Andy's Orchids had for sale at the Southland Orchid show yesterday.
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2012, 12:15 PM
ron-in-norcal ron-in-norcal is offline
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I know this is an old thread, but I just found it. Wonderful photos! I'm going to have to find some we can grow on the trees at home in San Francisco.
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2013, 11:27 PM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron-in-norcal View Post
I know this is an old thread, but I just found it. Wonderful photos! I'm going to have to find some we can grow on the trees at home in San Francisco.
If you get a chance you should check out the flickr group for landscaping with orchids.
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