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 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
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.
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!
- Blue Orchids and Chinese New Year of 2015 (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- SoundEagle in Chinese New Year Celebration, Spring Festival, Lion Dance, Traditional Culture and Architecture (soundeagle.wordpress.com)
- Chinese New Year Celebration, Spring Festival, Flying Eagle, Galloping Horses and Annual Surplus 鷹飛馬騰, 年年有餘 (soundeagle.wordpress.com)
- If My Name Were Moon Tonight… (soundeagle.wordpress.com)
- 2016 Year of the Fire Monkey Annual Forecast (ladaray.wordpress.com)
- How China Celebrates the New Year of the Fire Monkey (ladaray.wordpress.com)
- The Chinese Lantern Festival Marks End of New Year Celebrations (theepochtimes.com)
- Lunar new year 2015 – in numbers (theguardian.com)
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Romantic Orchid Display, Art, Poetry and Game (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- Celebrate Christmas and New Year with Festive Orchid Display, Art, Poetry and Games (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- Celebrating 2014 Mother’s Day with Queensland Orchid Society (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- Chelsea Flower Show 2013: Press Day (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- 80th Anniversary of The Queensland Orchid Society Inc (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- Celebrate Australia Day at Government House with the Governor, the Patron of the Queensland Orchid Society (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- Monkey Orchid and 5 Other Amazing Animal Orchids! (featuredcreature.com)
- The Amazing Monkey Orchid (kuriositas.com)
- Blog — Monkey Face Orchids (australianorchids.com.au)
- 17 Flowers That Look Like Something Else (boredpanda.com)
- Chinese New Year History’s “Bet You Didn’t Know” web … (plus.google.com)
- 16 Flowers That Look Like Something Else… “Monkey Orchid” Is My Favorite. (lifebuzz.com)
- 16 Flowers That Look Like Something Else… “Monkey Orchid” Is My Favorite. (odditycentral.com)
- Monkey Orchid Photo (urbanlegends.about.com)
- From monkey face orchid to naked man: The 12 weirdest phalaenopsis orchid types (hellawella.com)
- Monkey Orchid (pinterest.com)
- ORCHIDS FROM ECUADOR (ecuagenera.com)