Saturday, July 22, 2017


 Jakarta, July 22, 2017 (Antara) - Visitors to Papua, Indonesia's easternmost island, would earlier hunt for the stuffed Bird of Paradise, or Passeriformes Paradisaeidae, locally called "Cenderawasih," and the very rare and exotic Black Orchid, or Ceologyne Pandurata, as souvenirs.
         Such practices no longer exist, as the government has placed a ban on them. Both the Bird of Paradise and Black Orchid are very rare and strictly protected.
         Black Orchid is one of the most wanted orchids in Indonesia and can also be found in the deep forests of Kalimantan, although the shape of the flower differs from that found in Papua.
         The form, color, and details of the Black Orchid are beautiful and unique. It has a honeyed tongue, and the petals emit a fresh fragrance.
         The Black Orchid derives its name from the brownish-black and purplish black color of its petals. The Black Orchid's petals are shaped in the form of a bright purple tongue.
         In fact, orchids are a part of Indonesia's natural wealth. More than six thousand species of orchids grow in Indonesia's rainforests, the second highest after Brazil.
         Of these species, some are endemic orchid varieties of Indonesia, which is home to various exotic and rare species of orchids.
         The number of the species continues to grow, as some new ones have been found in their natural habitat deep within the rainforests in Borneo, Sulawesi, and Papua.
         Apart from Black Orchids, Bulbophyllum Graveolens, or Papuan Orchid, is among the very rare and exotic species of orchids.
         Growing in the temperate forests of Papua, this orchid is also known as the Papuan Orchid. The plant is large, with the flower head measuring up to 10 inches.

         In a bid to conserve the orchids in Papua, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has conducted research and collected data on the plant species found in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
         LIPI had explored several districts, such as Jayawijaya, Lanny Jaya, Yalimo, and Kaimana, for the research, Lina Djuswara, a botanical researcher at LIPI, noted on July 16.
         "Overall, based on data collected in the New Guinea area -- Papua, West Papua, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) -- there are three thousand species of orchids. However, the total figure excludes the orchid species found in the Papuan mountains. Hence, we are currently collecting data to find out the total number," she remarked.
         No fixed data is available owing to the lack of comprehensive exploration of orchids in Indonesia, particularly in Papua.
         "Of the total three thousand species, most are in PNG," she pointed out.
         Meanwhile, the Indonesian Orchid Association of Biak Numfor District, Papua Province, has planned to build an orchid laboratory and breed 100 species of typical orchids of Papua in 2017 to be cultivated by the local farmers.
         While speaking at a workshop on orchid cultivation, in Biak, recently, Chairman of Biak's Chapter of the Indonesian Orchid Association, Susan Ondy, remarked that several typical species of orchids of Papua are currently on the brink of extinction due to illegal logging of forests.
         Ondy noted that the Indonesian Orchid Association of Biak Numfor District had brought Dede Setio Santoso, an expert in orchid cultivation from the city of Batu Malang to Biak, to supervise the cultivation program of Papua's native orchids.
         The famous expert from Batu Malang City was expected to share experiences and teach the farmers in Biak District about orchid cultivation using simple interbreeding technology.
         "Sharing knowledge and practices for orchid cultivation will encourage the farmers to be more involved in growing orchids," Susan, who is also the wife of Head of Biak Numfor District Thomas Ondy, remarked.
         Santoso said various species of Papua's native orchids were highly favored by the orchid communities abroad.
         "In 2005, I had visited Biak and saw orchid plants growing in some residents' houses, but at present, I cannot see the similar panorama due to the lack of interest among residents to cultivate the typical plant of Papua," he noted.
         He expressed hope that the simple technology system of orchid cultivation would be taught to Biak's farmers, so that the local residents would be able to preserve the typical plant.
         The cultivation process of an orchid plant using the technology would require 1 to 1.5 years. Hence, farmers must be patient to manage the cultivation.
         The initiative of orchid cultivation training conducted by the Indonesian Orchid Association of Biak Numfor District could encourage the preservation of typical orchids of Papua.
         "I am very happy to share my knowledge with Biak's farmers, so that the local residents have an understanding of orchid cultivation," he stated on the sidelines of a cultivation practice using the interbreeding technique.
         The orchid cultivation workshop was held at the Manuhua Air Base in Biak Numfor District and was attended by 100 representatives of women's organizations, farmers, and communities of orchid lovers, among others.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 22-07-2017

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