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Bulbophyllum singaporeanum


Bulbophyllum singaporeanum Schlechter

Family Name: Orchidaceae


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Name Status (wrt SBG BG-BASE)

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Epiphyte
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Singapore and Peninsula Malaysia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Freshwater Swamp Forest, Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Epiphytic shrub that has been observed to likely begin its life in a terrestrial habit.
Roots Rhizomes long and thin, covered closely with leaf sheaths of about 4 mm thick.
Foliage Leaves glossy dark green, narrowly linear, about 30 cm long and 4 cm wide, the underside suffused with a degree of purple. Youngest, yet to be fully opened leaf completely purple.
Stems Pseudobulb (= a bulbous thickening on the stems of many epiphytic orchids) about 5 cm long and 6 mm wide, slightly flattened, distance between pseudobulbs about 10 cm.
Flowers Inflorescence stalk leafless, about 1.5 cm long, covered with long sheaths. Flowers small, numerous on the inflorescence, the flower-bearing portion about 4 cm long. Flower pale purplish-green in colour with dark purple spots, not open completely. Flower stalk and ovary 5 mm long. Lateral sepals 1.4 cm long, their lower edge continuing almost in the line of the mentum (= a projection formed by the extension of the base of the column in some orchids), with the area towards the apex strongly keeled and acute. Petals 7 mm long by 3 mm wide, with a pointed apex. Lip is 6 mm long, 4 mm wide at the base, curved strongly with a pointed tip, its upper surface deeply grooved throughout, almost to the tip. Flowers from a living nursery specimen have been observed to emit a very unpleasant smell, somewhat like rotting fish.
Associated Fauna Small flies have been observed flying around the flowers.
Etymology The genus name, "Bulbophyllum" is derived from Greek, meaning "bulb-leaved", while the specific epithet, "singaporeanum", is derived from "Singapore", where it was first collected.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water, Occasional Misting
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Herbaceous)
Propagule Establishment Remarks Known to be picky and not easy to grow in cultivation. Cuttings may be mounted on fern bark, covered by a layer of sphagnum moss and placed under 50% shade and watered twice a day.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Purple
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Purple
Young Flush Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Remarks Glossy dark green on the top surface, underside suffused with a degree of purple.
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Remarks Youngest partially opened leaf completely purple.

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple, Green
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Symmetry Bilateral

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule


References Yam, T.W., P.K.F. Leong, P.T. Chew, D. Liew and W.K.H. Ng. 2010. The Re-discovery & Conservation of Bulbophyllum singaporeanum. Gardenwise. Vol. 35. Pp. 14-17

Image Repository



Master ID 30688
Species ID 4999
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 15 October 2021.