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The region of Southeast Asia is known for holding a lot of reverence for its native flora and overall biodiversity. Indonesia, in particular, is home to an incredibly diverse landscape with many beautiful views. Indonesia consists of 17,504 islands, and because of this, it is frequently referred to as the Lost World of Asia. Due to the many islands, the biodiversity in Indonesia is worthy of seeing as it is home to over 100 exotic endangered animals and is even home to the largest flower in the world. As such an interesting country, it should be no surprise that Indonesia’s national flower would also be breathtaking.
Are you curious to find out which flower has been named the country’s national flower? We’ve got information on this gorgeous flower and other fascinating facts about it. So let’s learn all about this flower and what makes it so unique.
The Geographic Context for Indonesia’s National Flower
Indonesia is classified as the world’s longest archipelago — this means that it is the largest country composed of islands. As we mentioned above, the country is compromised of over 17,000 islands. The landscape of all of these islands varies. However, as the islands are situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, there are tons of mountain peaks and volcanoes. Some of these reach over 15,000 feet. Since the peaks are so tall, some of them are covered in snow all throughout the year.
As such a unique geography, what does the climate look like here? Well, the climate is typically varied. It really depends on the island’s location — however, it is classified as a tropical climate. For example, Jakarta, which is the country’s capital, spans the equator. This means that the island doesn’t really experience seasons. They usually have a wet season that begins in November and a dry season that starts in April and lasts into October.
The tropical climate of the country, however, helps with the growth of the many native flora and fauna. There are tons of marshes and mangrove swamps that can be seen across the coasts. There are also tons of tropical rainforests in the country as well as subtropical vegetation. With all of this in mind, let’s now explore the national flower of Indonesia.
Moon Orchid: The National Flower of Indonesia
The moon orchid is the national flower of Indonesia. However, it is important to note that it is simply one of three flowers chosen to represent the country for various reasons. The three flowers are the moon orchid, Jasminum sambac, and Rafflesia. Phalaenopsis amabilis, known as the “moon orchid,” was selected to represent the country’s flower of charm. It is found all throughout the country and because it is so beautiful it is even found on the country’s stamps.
This flower is native to India, China, and Southeast Asia. You can instantly recognize it thanks to the beautiful white, wide petals that are attached to a stem that can sometimes be up to a foot long. It also has a slight scent, although it is not particularly fragrant. This flower grows particularly well in humid conditions, which is why it is found all throughout the country. With that in mind, let’s explore the particular areas in which you’ll find these orchids in Indonesia.
Where Does Moon Orchid Grow in Indonesia?
Since the moon orchid is native to Indonesia, you can usually find it throughout the country. Orchids are epiphytic. This means that they don’t grow directly in the ground like other flowers.
Instead, they can be found growing in high trees on the islands. These flowers can even grow on the branches of trees that are incredibly high in elevation. However, it can also grow on rocks and even in lowland dense tropical rainforests. There are even times when these flowers can grow close to the ocean. However, it is also important to note that due to habitat loss, the moon orchid’s sustainability has begun to be threatened. Deforestation, illegal logging, and forest fires have all contributed to the loss of habitat in Indonesia. This means that in the wild, these flowers have begun to require extra care and attention.
As a result of habitat loss, it is even more important to protect these gorgeous flowers. After all, they have been around for a very long time and hold a lot of significance to people in Indonesia and around the world. Let’s now take a look at the cultural significance of the moon orchid.
What Is the Cultural Significance of the Moon Orchid?
The moon orchid is called “anggrek bulan” in Indonesian. The word “anggrek” means “orchid” in English. The word “orchid” actually comes from the Greek word “orkhis.” This word literally means “testicle,” and it was called like this because the ancient Greek botanist, Theophrastos, felt that the flower resembled this part of the male anatomy. As a result, the orchid has long been associated with the symbolism of fertility.
Although it has no scientific explanation, there is also a myth associated with orchids and reproduction. It was said that eating a young orchid would result in male offspring. On the other hand, if you ate an older orchid, you would produce a daughter. This only further solidified the orchid’s symbolism of fertility — especially with male fertility. Outside of these myths, the moon orchid itself is simply a beautiful flower.
It is because of the natural beauty of this flower that it was chosen to represent Indonesia as the flower of charm. Throughout Indonesia, and even the world, this flower is used as an ornamental plant and many people choose to grow their own at home. In fact, if you’re interested in caring for and growing your moon orchids, here are some helpful tips on how to do that!
How to Grow Moon Orchids
One of the reasons that many people choose to grow their own moon orchids is that they are pretty low-maintenance flowers. For example, when it comes to sunlight requirements, they are pretty flexible plants. They typically prefer indirect, filtered sunlight as direct sunlight can actually burn their leaves. The best way to know if your moon orchid is getting sufficient light is by looking at its leaves. If their leaves are dark green, they are getting enough light. However, if they are bright green then you need to reduce the amount of light they’re getting.
Additionally, they will only need to be watered once a week or so. They prefer a slightly damp environment to grow, however, you should allow the soil to dry out a bit before their next watering session. You want to ensure that you water them in a consistent manner and the worst thing you can do is overwater as this can lead to root rot. Once again, you can take a look at their roots for hints at how well-watered they are. If the roots are green in color then your orchid is hydrated. However, if the roots are gray or silver, then your orchid needs water. Also, make sure you use lukewarm water and never too hot or too cold water as this could damage the roots.
Other Native Plants and Flowers of Indonesia
Indonesia has an incredibly diverse geography. As such, there are tons of unique flowers and plants that grow there. As we mentioned above, there are two other flowers that were named the national flowers of the country. Jasminum sambac and the Rafflesia arnoldii are also beautiful and unique flowers in their respect and were thus chosen. Jasmine, as many of us know, has a wonderful scent. You’ll often find this flower mixed in herbal teas, and there are many traditional ceremonies in Indonesia that make use of Jasmine. Rafflesia arnoldii, also known as the “corpse flower,” is one of the rarest flowers in the world. It is so rare that the only place where this flower grows in Indonesia is in the forest of Bengkulu Province.