Moon Orchid Facts
- This gorgeous Angiosperm, with a nature that might surprise you, most frequently goes by the common name of the Moon Orchid. It does have a few other, alternate general names, though, These include the terms moth orchid, and also the anggrek bulan.
- Among scientific professionals, such as researchers, it goes by a far different name, however. That term, though, is a bit of a mouthful for non-professionals. That’s because the marvel also bears the tongue-twisting moniker of the Phalaenopsis amabilis.
- The flora received the official name that it currently holds due to the efforts of the German-Dutch botanist, Charles Ludwig de Blume. It previously held other names, assigned by other researchers. His work, however, changed it to the current one in 1825.
- For now, the magnifent creation of Nature appears to be maintaining a population base that’s both stable and sufficient. This fortunate fact further seems to hold true throughout the entirety of its range. The IUCN, therefore, has no current listing for it.
- The dazzling Moon Orchid nonetheless does face at least a few potential threats to its continued existence. Illegal collection of the wonder from its natural habitat continues, despite efforts to curb the practice. Invasive species also pose a potential threat.
- Factors such as habitat degradation or outright destruction pose further dangers. Both of these occur chiefly due to the actions of man, either directly or indirectly. Likewise, the accelerating effects of climate change also threaten it, like most other species.
Moon Orchid Physical Description
The aptly-named Moon Orchid easily impresses those who encounter it with its celestial beauty, to be ceertain. Yet, sheer visual appeal alone isn’t the only remarkable characteristic of this marvelous Angiosperm. The gorgeous flora also has a fascinating physical nature.
That’s because this particular variety of orchid evolved as what botanists call epiphytic and lithophytic. That means that this stunner grows not in the soil, but either on the surface of a host plant, or on rocks. Nature never fails to amaze with its wondrous resourcefulness!
Those incredible roots occasionally attain lengths of up to 3.3 ft (1 m). These also develop extremely flattened in shape. Each of these vital structures additionally develops as quite narrow. Each typically only measures about 0.12 – 0.16 in (3 – 4 mm) in overall width.
Its foliage, meanwhile, also merits notice. Individual plants produce 2 – 8 distinctive leaves apiece. The leaves generally present either an egg-shaped or oblong structure. Lengths further average from 5.9 – 12 in (15 – 30 cm). Widths, though, average 1.6 – 2.8 in (4 – 7 cm).
The stems each Moon Orchid produces from which to display its blooms averages 3.9 – 12 in (10 – 30 cm) in length. This structure, however, typically remains concealed by the bases of the leaves. Each branch also produces between 2 – 20 long-lasting flowers on short stalks.
But, it’s the blooms that easily garner the most interest. These average 2.4 – 2.8 in (6 – 7 cm) in length, and 2 – 3.1 in (5 – 8 cm) in width. The labellum, which attracts its pollinators, displays white, with yellowish and red markings. The blooms, though, show brilliant white.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophytes
- Class: Angiosperm
- Order: Asparagales
- Family: Orchidaceae
- Genus: Phalaenopsis
- Species: P. amabilis
Moon Orchid Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Fortunately for the mesmerizing Moon Orchid, it evolved as native to a comparatively wide section of the globe. That’s due to the fact that populations of the beautiful plant appear in both parts of Asia, and the continent of Australia. That dispersal gives it an advantage.
Within its concentration in Asia, it appears from Palawan Island, in the Philippines, to Borneo. It also lives in parts of Java and Sumatra. At least three recognized subspecies also inhabit much of the same range. In Australia, it mainly lives in Paluma Range National Park.
Though exceptions occur, this marvel displays preferences for its choice of habitat. That’s due to the fact that the vast majority of specimens develop in regions of extremely precise ecological factors. These consist of rainforest areas, with high humidity and good air flow.
It’s also precise concerning other factors. Given its somewhat unusual nature, it requires a physical host to cling to. In its native state, this most often consists of trees. It does, however, sometimes appear on stones. Yet it rarely clings to man-made structures in its area.
Like most plants, the Moon Orchid accomplishes its reproduction via pollination. Also like others of its kind, it achieves this through the actions of insect. In its case, this mainly occurs due to the visits of local bees. Interestingly, though, its mainly carpenter bees that visit.
It also plays an important cultural role in parts of its range. In Indonesia, it represents one of three official National Flowers. The plant holds similar importance in other regions as well, however. It’s also the official flower of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, Malaysia.