AS Sabahans celebrated Malaysia Day and the birthday of Yang DiPertua Negri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah, the long weekend turned out to be even more special for orchid aficionados.
More than 700 plants of about 70 varieties were on display at the Borneo Orchid Society of Sabah’s (BOSS) 10th orchid show at the Tanjung Aru Plaza shopping centre.
“This year's show is the biggest ever in terms of the number of plants on display,” BOSS president Liew Fook Fah said after the event's launch by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman’s wife Datin Faridah Tussin.
The plants were loaned to the show by more than 30 participants.
Among the plants on display were the renowned slipper orchid and the unique elephant ear orchid that earned its name from the two large leaves surrounding its bloom.
“We were lucky to have a plant blooming in time for the show. It usually blooms between November and February,” said orchid show manager Henry Lo.
Another unique plant on display was the rat-tail orchid which has tube-like leaves that grow to more than 2m. The leaves can be mistaken for roots by those not in the know.
Scientifically known as Paraphalaenopsis, all four varieties of the plant are found only in Borneo. The local variety labukenis was first discovered in the Labuk area near Sandakan.
In her speech when launching the show, Faridah said the event was important as it helped showcase some of the 1,200 species of orchids found in Sabah.
“Orchids are part of Sabah’s biodiversity and thus should be preserved and protected. As part of our natural heritage, they should be considered as golden eggs of Sabah,” she added.
Faridah said that growing orchids commercially could be a revenue earner particularly for youths in Sabah’s rural communities.
“All they need is the right guidance and incentives,” she said, noting that there was consistent demand for orchids globally.