The Rampant Bulbophyllums

New Guinea species

Bulbophyllum fritilliflorum Many species of Bulbophyllum have elongated rhizomes, with the pseudobulbs well apart. Two such species are the New Guinea Bulbophyllum fritilliflorum and Bulbophyllum macranthum.

Bulbophyllum fritilliflorum is of the section Hyalosema, and has almost square pseudobulbs which can be 10 cm or more apart. The flower is beak like, cream heavily overlaid with red, red brown, and about 8cm or more long.

Bulbophyllum macranthum, which also extends from Thailand to Malaya and the Philippines, has a rounded pseudobulb, also up to 10 cm or more apart on the rhizome. The flowers are about 3 cm across, cream yellow overlaid with red purple spots, the outer parts of the segments flushed red purple.

Culture suggestions

Bulbophyllum macranthum (Malaya) Both species grow well in the tropics, and because they like to spread out, should be potted to accommodate the long creeping rhizome. Tree fern slabs are good, cork tends to be too dry, but with copious watering, will suffice. Large baskets offer the best management, as the growing leads can be redirected back into the basket.

A potting medium of polypodium fern or elkhorne fern fibre or similar, or a mixture of bark, isolite and spaghnam moss may also be used.Coconut fibre is also used successfully. Once established, the plants can be quickly grow into an impressive specimen by cutting the rhizome and making the back bulbs produce additional new leads. When growing, the plants like plenty of water and warmth. Regular fertilising will make these species even more rampant.

Bulbophyllum macranthum (Philippines)

Text by Ian Walters.
May be reproduced provided source acknowledged.