• Exotic blooms at the ‘Flora Filipina’ expo

     Out of over 1,200 orchid species recognized worldwide, about 900 are endemic and found only in the Philippines

    Out of over 1,200 orchid species recognized worldwide, about 900 are endemic and found only in the Philippines

    Phaphiopedilum philipinense is a uniquely flowered orchid species that is found in the Philippines. It is highly prized by orchid collectors worldwide that it has been heavily poached from our forests.

    THE Philippine Orchid Society with the support of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Tourism, the Quezon City local government and the participation of country’s leading garden societies will be re-staging the “Mother of all Garden Shows of the Philippines,” dubbed as the Flora Filipina Expo, from February 25 to March 9 at the Quezon Memorial Circle grounds in Diliman, Quezon City.

    This is to promote the local Floriculture Industry to ever demanding global market who has been in continues search for new and better high value ornamental crops.

    Gardening is such a favorite pastime for many people worldwide that some have developed a passion to specialize in collecting certain plants. Fortunately, the Philippines has been blessed with a wealth of flora that our local growers have a wide variety of plants to choose from to propagate and offer.

    The orchid is an example of a favorite blooming plant that has been sought after by collectors because of their exotic flowers. Their vibrant and unusual floral forms evoke thoughts of paradise and wild tropical forests making them the gems and jewels of the plant world. Luckily for us Filipinos, out of the 1,200 plus orchid species recognized worldwide, represented by about 141 genera, about 900 of them are endemic and found only in the Philippines.

    This numbers do not include the dozens of varieties of each orchid species we have nor the number of orchid hybrids that have been developed using them. There are still more to see and discover when it comes to exotic blooms of the Philippines.

    Another local blooming plant that our country has in numerous varieties is the Hoya.

     Greens and blooms from bohol

    Greens and blooms from bohol

    Hoyas are a kind of vine that produces clusters of waxy blooms with sweet smelling scents. They are very hardy and make lovely hanging plants. A growing trend for collecting this unusual plant has started because of the many new forms being discovered here in the country.

    Pitcher plants or the Nepenthes are also an interesting group of flowering plants the Philippines has in abundance. They are insect eaters and are good indicators of our forest’s ecological health. Knowledge of their care and breeding has made it viable for our local growers to develop new strains and propagate them for the hobby market.

    An even more popular blooming plant found in our forests is the Rafflesia. Although its flower emits a very foul smell likened to that of rotting carrion, the mere size of its bloom and attractiveness compensates for it. It is still however a long way before we learn how to propagate it but studies have already been on their way.

    A few years back Medenilla magnifica, an endemic flowering shrub, was a hit in all of Europe. Its lovely cluster of pendant blooms bearing purple and pink berries with broad floral bracts were so attractive that the Europeans patented its propagation.

    This deprived our locals from revenue of the local find and prevented our local growers from exporting the plant. Now, with the popularity of new Medinilla varieties being discovered, our local growers have more colors to offer the plant world. Many too are now wiser to protect their precious finds from unscrupulous plant traders.

    The world floriculture market is a $70-plus billion industry—with Europe, US and China being the leading exporters. Even our neighboring countries like Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are well known in this field. It is unfortunate that despite the fact that the Philippines has the third largest record of biodiversity in flora and fauna in the world we are still lagging behind in this trade.

    The Philippines has what it takes to develop the local floriculture industry into a viable dollar earner for our country. The 2015 Flora Filipina Expo stands as the Philippines’ showcase of our finest and most exotic floral resources and likewise a showcase of out talents and culture. On display will be the best of Philippine flora in exquisite garden landscapes. The Flora Expo also offers horticultural tours for the foreign participants who have been invited to come and a two day scientific conference for exchange of technology and added learning. On site will also be a trade fair offering the best of or our industries high value crops.

    There will be free daily lectures from March 1 to 9 with the followinb schedule:
    March 1:”Techniques in Growing and Blooming your Cattleya Orchids by Hernando Perez; March 2:”Tips for Growing Vandaceous Orchids” by Jun Golamco; March

    3:”Wedding arrangement” by Floral Designer’s Circle; March 4:”Tray Landscaping” by Serapion Metilla; “New trends using Tillandsias” by Doreen Dofitas; March
    6:”Plant Nutrition” by Allied Botanical Corporation; March 7:”Keeping fancy bantam chickens as a hobby and poultry showing in the UK” by Lee Poulton; March 8:”Proper Cultivation of Foliage Anthuriums for the Ornamental and Cutfoliage Industry” by Vangie Go; March 9: Ways of Controlling Plant Pest & Diseases for Summer by Norberto Bautista.

    For more information call the Philippine Orchid Society Secretariat at 929-4425 or (0917) 848-5468 or e-mail philorchidsociety@gmail.com.


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