Phalaenopsis maculata in situ
by Sarawaklens on Sunday, November 15, 2009
I consider myself very lucky to have seen this species in situ. It truly was a chance sighting as I never expected to come across it while exploring a limestone hill. Limestone hills are full of surprises! Even though they are difficult and dangerous to climb, I love exploring them as they often present many good photo ops.
Phalaenopsis maculata is locally known in bahasa Melayu (Malay language) as kupu-kupu batu. Literally translated, it means rock (batu) butterfly (kupu-kupu) or rock moth. 'Butterfly/moth’ because phals are known as moth orchids and ‘rock’ because this species is lithophytic. These are photos I took some time ago.
Limestone habitat for Phalaenopsis maculata. The orchid grows on top of thick humus collected on the limestone.
Two seedpods on this inflorescence. A bug chewed plant growing in a thick layer of humus on limestone.
Click the picture for the larger photo and note the thick layer of debris and humus it grows on.
It is not as difficult a species as say, Phalaenopsis corningiana, which requires a very humid environment and plenty of moisture. However, judging from my own plants, P. maculata does seem to like some lime (alkaline) in its media.

I have one large plant in a basket with leaf litter, debris, charcoal and limestone chips and it flowers often. It has even produced a little keiki. I have two more in a pot with moss and limestone chips and those are doing well and have spiked before too (but snails chewed up the spikes). Then there is another mounted on a piece of tree fern, while healthy and fairly large, has never flowered or even spiked before.

Sometimes when trekking in a limestone area, I like to collect the natural humus off the ground for some of my orchids such as paphs and terrestrials.

Phalaenopsis maculata, the rock phal. Hope the photos give a better idea of how to make your own plants happy. :)


You can see Sarawaklens's original post in his own homepage here. He very kindly provide me the authorization to use his text and pictures here. Thanks a lot for sharing this great information!