🐒 Monkey Orchids and Chinese New Year of 2016 🏮



Queensland Orchid International Happy Chinese New Year 2016

Queensland Orchid International in Chinese New Year Celebration, Spring Festival, Lion Dance, Traditional Culture and Architecture in the Year of the Monkey.

Chinese New Year

History’s “Bet You Didn’t Know” web series focuses on some of history’s little known facts.

Can also be viewed at history.com/topics/holidays/chinese-new-year

It is interesting to note that the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year is celebrated annually for 15 days, commencing on Monday 8th February this year, and culminating in the Lantern Festival (元宵節) on the final day, which is today, Monday 22nd February 2016, soon to be joyfully experienced in the first Full Moon Tonight… for the Year of the Monkey, the symbolic meanings and cultural significance of which are well encapsulated by the following Wikipedia excerpts:

The Monkey () is the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Monkey is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .

The Monkey
Fixed Element/Energy Hours ruled Positive traits Negative traits Health risks
Metal/Yang 03:00 – 04:59 pm (15:00 – 16:59) Intelligent, dignified, optimistic, romantic, sociable, quick-witted, confident, agile, motivator, curious, gregarious Egotistical, vain, arrogant, selfish, deceptive, reckless, snobbish, suspicious, manipulative, restless Circulatory and heart troubles, prone to diabetes, arthritis, anxiety and panic issues, obsessive-compulsive disorder, antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder

Lunar New Year 2015

🙈 🙉 🙊

Photo & Video Contributions

Those who are interested in contributing photos or videos can upload them to the Queensland Orchid International Facebook Group.

Excellent or exceptional photos and videos uploaded to the group may be featured in the following Gallery of this post to provide exemplary visual documentations of Orchids for Chinese New Year Celebration and Dracula simia or other similar species in the genus Dracula.

Monkey Orchids from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru

Already popular in Americas, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the unusual blooms of the monkey orchid (also named monkey face orchid) have continued to titillate the imagination and even spawn incredulity in some people who encounter them for the first time in photos, nurseries or shows. Perhaps the Year of the Monkey may initiate or facilitate the popularization of this orchid in Asia.

Cold-tolerant, fragrant and endemic to the mountainous regions of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru (more common in southeastern Ecuador) at an elevation of 1000 to 2000 metres above sea level, the reddish brown, white-centred, long-tailed flowers of this short-stemmed, thin-leafed orchid with the highly emblematic name of Dracula simia, really look like the grinning faces of small capuchin monkeys. According to Wikipedia:

Dracula simia, called also monkey orchid or the monkey-like Dracula, is an epiphytic orchid originally described in the genus Masdevallia, but later moved to the genus Dracula. The arrangement of column, petals and lip strongly resembles a monkey’s face. The plant blooms at any season with several flowers on the inflorescence that open successively. Flowers are fragrant with the scent of a ripe orange.

Other closely related species such as Dracula amaliae, Dracula lotax, Dracula saulii, Dracula dalströmii, Dracula vlad-tepes, Dracula houtteana, Dracula gigas, Dracula trigonopetala, Dracula venefica, Dracula hawleyi and Dracula inaequalis also bear some resemblances to monkey faces.

Dracula simia is described at orchidspecies.com as follows:

Common Name The Monkey-Like Dracula

Flower Size 2 x 6″ [5 x 15 cm]

A southeastern Ecuadorian and Peruvian species in cloud forests from elevations of 1000 to 2000 meters as a small sized, warm to cool growing epiphyte with erect, stout ramicauls enveloped basally by 2 to 3 loose, tubular sheatsh and carrying a single, apical, erect, thinly coriaceous, carinate, narrowly elliptical-linear, acute, gradually narrowing below into the conduplicate, indistinct, subpetilate base leaf that blooms in the winter, spring and fall on a stout, subverrucose, sparsely bracted, horizontal to descending, 4 to 6″ [10 to 15 cm] long, congested, successively few flowered inflorescence arising from low on the ramicaul and carrying a tubular floral bract and with large flowers resembling a monkey’s face.

Synonyms *Masdevallia simia Luer 1978

Many Dracula orchids have humorous names that refer to animals, mythological monsters or creatures from horror stories such as Chimera, Circe, Chiroptera (Bat), Devil, Dracula, Vampire, Monkey, Nosferatu, Medusa and Gorgona. The genus was once classified as Masdevallia. In 1978, it was given its new label by the botanist Carlyle A Luer (born 23 August 1922) and placed in the subtribe Pleurothallidinae, which is the specialty interest of Luer.

There are about 122 orchid species in the genus Dracula, from plants with miniature flowers to those with flowers each measuring about eight inches in diameter. More than 90% of Dracula orchids originate in the mountains of western Andes in the central and southern Colombia and northern Ecuador, but some also occur in other areas of these countries. There are three newly discovered species in Peru, one known in Mexico, and also nine or ten found in the other Central American countries. The survival of some species is increasingly threatened, given that cloud forests are disappearing at an alarming rate in certain regions.

Lacking pseudobulbs and growing in tufts from a short rhizome with a dense pack of stems, Dracula orchids are epiphytic plants that prefer the shaded areas of the moist forests and mountains where they are rarely exposed to direct sunlight and where the humidity is very high. As a whole, they feature high degree of endemism. Several known species restricted to a single or few collections or colonies have been artificially propagated to ensure their survival.

Dracula orchids are far more comfortable in temperate and cold climates since they need constant moisture at the roots, and require the temperature of their surroundings to be less than 25°C, preferably between 14°C and 19°C by day, and around 7°C or 8°C by night.

On the one hand, they are plants that grow very well and easily form large clumps when their ideal cultural requirements are met in shady, well-ventilated, cool greenhouse conditions. On the other hand, a week of heat or drought can damage a huge plant grown properly for many years. A day of excessive heat may also cause all buds and flowers to wither away.

Those who reside in warmer regions may attempt to cultivate Dracula inaequalis, a heat-tolerant species from Colombia.


Those Dracula species that have pendulous inflorescences should be planted in suspended pots with many bottom holes, for their inflorescences often traverse the substrate and penetrate through the holes. If the pots have inadequate bottom holes, flowering may be affected or even aborted. Thus, well-drained boxes of wooden slats or hanging plastic baskets fully drilled with holes will facilitate the emergence and growth of the inflorescences.


On this special day, SoundEagle would like to invite all of you to celebrate the occasion with not just lanterns, fireworks and sumptuous Chinese food but also orchids of any colour persuasion via the simultaneous presentation of videos, photos, graphics and friendly discussions.

It is 22nd February, the start of a new season! If you are interested and creatively inclined, then gather your best-looking and most spring- or autumn-worthy (flowering) orchids, bring them indoor or outdoor for enjoyment, and decorate or surround them with old or new gifts, souvenirs, memorabilia, models, jewellery, decor(ations), ornaments, plush toys and so on to mark the beginning of the new season and the end of the Chinese New Year during the bright hours of the day or by the Full Moon Tonight… with festive Lanterns.

Take photos or videos and upload them to the Queensland Orchid International Facebook Group to celebrate the occasion and the new season, impressing us with your spirit and creativity!

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8 thoughts on “🐒 Monkey Orchids and Chinese New Year of 2016 🏮

  1. As always , a well written piece with marvellous supporting pics & videos from kw & some of our international & local Australian members .Seeing the standard of the floral displays makes me want to travel to some of our Asian neighbouring countries to not only see the beauty but feel the excitement ,the drama & food at this auspicious time in the chinese calendar .I especially enjoyed the orchids kw showed us ,the gracious Phalaenopsis, the elegant Paphiopedilum ,Dracula-the cheeky monkey orchid & Vanda ,the pretty bloom that steals our attention .The messages spoke volumes & for me the three monkeys in kw’s banner say it all :
    See no evil ,Hear no evil ,Speak no evil .
    Thank you kw for for all your hard work last year . I & I’m sure everyone who reads this ,am looking forward to what’s in store for this- the year of the monkey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi thenakedflorist,

      This is probably our final correspondence before the Year of the Rooster replaces the Year of the Monkey very soon. What have you installed or lined up this time to experience and “feel the excitement ,the drama & food at this auspicious time in the chinese calendar”, to use your own words in verbatim? Have you started to grow your very first Monkey Orchid to remind you of 🙈 🙉 🙊 ?

      Like

    • Hi 1EarthUnited! Another Chinese New Year is about to arrive, and this time it is the Year of the Rooster. If seems that an orchid resembling a rooster, chicken or hen is yet to be found or agreed upon. Does the jug orchid, Pterostylis recurvafo, as shown below, bear any resemblance to the rooster, according to your judgement?

      May you enjoy the New Year celebration in all its diversity!

      Like

  2. Here once again I have come to read an enjoyably enlightening series of articles pictures and cultural notes. Yes Chinese New year is grandly celebrated here in Bendigo by the wonderful Chinese Community with many finctions performances by the lion dancers who also go from business to business dancing and collecting the red envelopes after the blessings. We live close to both temple of worship and Joss house and have seen and heard the excitement of the new year of the Monkey.I particularly love the Dracula orchids. Not easy to grow and flower in our climate. But I look forward to flowering th 8 or so I have. Great work K.W. Thank you B.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Barbara! The Year of the Monkey is almost over, but not before SoundEagle improves this post about Monkey Orchids even further. Please come over to see at least one of the improvements as follows:

      Bottoms up! A Chinese New Year themed cocktail for you: The Hanuman.
      Hanuman is the king of the monkeys in Asian lore. Royal but mischievous in nature, this drink crafted by Patrice Cleary of Purple Patch restaurant includes a fiery, mischievous surprise. But perhaps its most stunning feature is a brilliantly bright, edible orchid ensconced in an ice cube. The flower symbolizes friendship, and the drink would be a fabulous one to share with friends.

      You can find the entire video on how to make the cocktail near the top of the post. Enjoy!

      By the way, I wonder if you could kindly advise me on how to publish a new post on the Rooster Orchid, the Chicken Orchid and/or the Hen Orchid, if such plants exist, given that the 2017 Chinese New Year celebrates the Year of the Rooster 🐓. 🙂

      As the lyrics of a song from the 1960s go, “Were I a rooster I would crow for you.”

      Like

  3. Hello kw , you’ve caught me off guard & unprepared for your questions . Unlike Barbara I don’t grow any monkey orchids .I hear they grow well in ( I can’t believe I am writing this) sunny Tasmania !
    I listened to the Eastwood festival organiser yesterday & there is a cooking competition scheduled , dragon dance , etc . Last year one of the major sponsors included a hotel & the manager proposed on bended knee to his Korean girlfriend during the festival ! She accepted & the organiser is keen to continue the theme of Love !! Isn’t Love grand ? Signing out now …..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: ✾ Blue Orchids and Chinese New Year of 2015 🐏🐐🐑 | ✿❀ Queensland Orchid International ❀✿

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