This month Nick Fulford, one of our members, took us of a tour of the area around Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. The area is cooler and fresher than the heat of Bangkok, and is home to a diversity of orchid genera.
Nick began at Doi Inthanon, where at an altitude of 2500m there are frosts during the cold dry season from November to April and often misty conditions. Orchids found include Coelogyne nitida and Dendrobium infundibulum. We them moved to the deciduous forest at Chiang Dao, at a lower altitude of 1200m. Here there was a wider range of genera including Dendrobium, Bublophyllum, Vanda, Cheirostylis, Vandonopsis and Phiaus.
After a short interlude of images of the Writhlington School Orchid Project we then visited the Phua Hin National Park. This park is at high altitude with thick mature evergreen forest that is constantly moist and wet. Winter temperatures can reach as low as 0oC. Orchids here include Bulbophyllum, Coelogyne and Luisia species. After a description of the orchids found in the Nam Nao National Park Nick showed photos of a visit to an orchid nursery producing Vanda hybrids. The jungle trekking finished at the Phuluang Wildlife Sanctuary, a very remote location that can only be visited accompanied by a guide. Here there was a greater diversity of orchids, including Eria, Diploplora and Sunipia, in addition to Dendrobiums and Bulbophyllum.
The talk concluded with visits to the flower and night markets. in Chiang Mai, the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden and the nearby temple at Doi Suthep. It is always interesting to see orchids in their natural habitat – thank you Nick for sharing your experiences with us.