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      hibiscus and orchids               
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This is our hibiscus in pot, which grows sometimes up to height magnificent flowers at a time... after forty buds lost when tranferred into home in November ! ... and wich flourishes not too much during the summer.
Our hibiscus flowers dye with dignity and grace, rolling up theirs  petals like the  leaves of a beautiful cigar, well tight and dry, while their fading colour keep long a certain charm.

Thanks : all these magnificent varieties come from some web sites I skimmed through ; I suggest you to visit them :

       http://hibiscusmania.free.fr

http://www.trop-hibiscus.com

http://americanhibiscus.org/index.htm (for addresses)

French sites (you can at least admire the pictures and have texts translated with Google or else)

http://iquebec.ifrance.com/varola/hibiscus.htm
(plants encyclopedia wich offer postal card too...)

The Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, is probably the most popular and widely planted shrub of the tropics. This colorful shrub is believed to be native to China.

You will find very useful information reading all these sites.

Ground : this plant require a well-drained soil and do not tolerate saturated soils or "wet feet". Plants will be killed to the ground by 28 to 30°F (2 to 1°C) temperatures, but established plants may come out in the spring and bloom on new growth that summer. Hibiscus should be protected from cold winds. A well-drained soil is suitable for hibiscus if proper fertilization is provided. A soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is preferred. Hibiscus grown on alkaline soils may suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.

Watering ; during the hot season, the plant is going to absorb a significant quantity of water. Avoid to drown the roots while filling up the cup with water. During hot days, if the leaves are floppy, water it and it will soon regain vivacity.

Exemple : summer : put outside for a better development. If the weather is nice, water it with approximately 1/2 glass of water every two days, or more if the weather is very hot (for a 21 cm diameter pot). Manure: once a week. The plant shows what is necessary for itself and it can be under the best conditions from time to time (like us). 

winter : place in a not too hot place, on open light, behind a pane (even directly exposed at sun). Vaporize the leaves and sprinkle them every two days with water at the temperature of the room (or more if the leaves softened too much. Note: Do not water tomuch as it is the tendency; the plant shows what is necessary and it can wait a little.

Fertilizers ; an ample supply of micronutrients is essential for proper growth of hibiscus. Fertilize lightly and often.  Use fertilizers that include the trace elements such as iron, copper, boron, manganese, etc, wich are often limiting on alkaline soils.
Most growers prefer low phosphate fertilizer such as a 7-2-7.

Avoid ! high nitrogen fertilizers that may encourage leaf growth rather than flower production.

Problems ; Premature flower bud drop is often a problem with hibiscus. Some varieties, especially some doubles, are characterized by premature bud drop. Bud drop can be caused by insects, overfertilization,  poor drainage and excessive water..

But hibiscus are like ourselves : impredictable, they can grow a leave after another, make six flowers at a time and keep quiet without anything for a month.  

                   

 


Orchids, orchises (orchises for wild ones)

Orchises often imitate insects but insects imitate the orchises. These complex tricks get ourselves lost in our True, and the theories of the evolution remain very discrete on this subject extremely disturbing.
Right hand, a white religious mante is coiled in an orchis to take a share of the insects it will attract. The delicate green flange is the neck of the young lady and for the remainder, trust the small drawing at the top because only a white part of the lower part belongs to the orchis.
Editions Bayard "astrapi" album jeunes.      Lower, an orchis imitates the bee.

 

Our orchid flowers when she wants ; not even each year. How it is adviced, we water it very few. But she lives and does not seem to bother too much.

Shis very common, but we like these delicate butterfly flowers. Orchids, or only some of them ? are parasite plants hanging from branches of trees, like liana, of which these aerial roots.

An advice from a gardener ; don't cut the aerial roots around it because they help the plant to breathe.

 

A wild orchid brings its hability to the perfumes which flatter both our nostrils and savours which lick our papillae. I named the vanilla.  I reproduce right hand the picture of the magazine “Match of the World”, December 2006, now wanished.

The pod od the liana vanilla becomes yellow or yellow-brown while maturing (according to another source) and at this point in time it is gathered to be placed drying on the sun, but sheltered at night. When the pods become brown dark, they are put in the shade, on trays, over  a 9 months period. Vanilla is present in the mythical No5 of "Chanel" or “Jicky de Guerlain”. As a tourist, we brought back a Polynesian one from there. The photograph opposite would be of the Guadeloupe. Pods hangs on the right.
 

Orchids a bit more special

Sciences et Avenir May 2004; Interview of the botanist Luc Gigord.

With more than 30.000 species, forms and colors do not miss ; one plant out every twelve is an orchis. The orchises do not come from the first ages of the plants life, like all plants with flowers, at the beginning of the cretaceous (- 130 million years), but only veiled 10 to 20 million years, the time of the cave man.

We admire both the most beautiful and the most spectacular ones but there are anonymous small ones at the edge of the paths, in France and everywhere else in the world, from the sea level up to 4000 meters of altitude. They are almost exclusively fertilized by insects (bees, bumblebees, flies, butterflies). In seldom cases, they self-fertilize or need birds help.

Described like sex-symbols, even as sexes in short, this Freudienne analysis dared by some must be moderated ; to reproduce itself, the orchis seeks to attract the insect in order to use it like vector (conveying) of pollen for its fecundation. It is true that in certain cases, it imitates an insect which will seem a good bargain by congeneric passing by there; the unhappy one will not obtain of what it hoped for but will be covered with grains of pollen on its way out; in other case, it seeks only this sweetened pollen.

   Yellow ophrys

          

 

 

Trichoceros parviflorum.

 

 It is extraordinary that certain orchises mislead the insects by offering nothing but a lure without food. They will set out again about it nevertheless covered with pollen ; sure they will not return, but no matter, the plant sends away a good part of its 50.000 seeds !

Early in the season, in February, an orchis hatched in Spain: it will attract young inexperienced bumblebees which, not finding anything, will plough into the plant and while fourraging, being powdered" with a maximum of pollen seeds. This is not fair-play, but the mysteries of the beings are unsoundable, as we know it well. In all cases, the pretty one will not have needed to synthesize sugar, and it is energy saved.
Some others imitate another flower, appreciated by insects, which they mislead while producing in addition multiple perfumes which obstruct any identification.

This ophrys, queen of the kind, with the down and its colors yellow and gold, including two transverse bands, imitate the bee.

Birth and evolution of the species. How the orchises could imitate an insect?

it is the great mystery of the life. According to the theory of the evolution of species of Darwin, preferably accepted instead of Lamarck theory (which however makes a noticed come back), the species would be created randomly and only those being born armed well both to nourish and reproduce themselves, would survive; one added "the function make the organ", which corrects a little the rigour of the previous postulate, in particular for their evolution ; Darwin, who had observed these plants, preferred to ignore them so much his theory was put to the test.

The author who speaks thus about Darwin evokes however further his theory  on evolution: "randomly of an unspecified change, an orchis flowered without nectar and was spread" (..)  why not to say then, randomly unspecified change, an orchis was born with a false bee on its petals or, an orchis painted a bee above (after to have seen it with its beautiful soft eyes) and we fall quickly into some ridiculous fact.

 Did the orchises and their lures appear from the start by imitating an insect? do they created them after "having seen them"; the second case is quite as incomprehensible (and for me improbable), because then how would have they could survive while being born without means of nourishing themselves.

Let us notice that lure or not, similar question are posed for the totality of the alive beings because links between plants and animals are common (see the corals), the lichen and the algae, certain trees which protect only the ants, the goats and the acacias, and so much of others which we are unaware of.

 

Left hand, a stamp "butterfly orchis"
 

 

 

Sciences and Avenir May 2004; Interview of the botanist Luc Gigord (continuation).
.

Air orchis, Bucket orchid. Orchidée aérienne, Bucket orchid.
 

an elixir (odor, perfume called pheromon for the insects), attracts the males which set out again powdered with pollen.

The Venus shoe, rare and protected species makes think of certain plants carnivores; the insect, attracted by the yellow colour, slips and fall inside. It will arise from it without damage, but covered of pollen from the head to the legs.

 

Serapias cordigera

Orchis Mediterranean famous aphrodisiac; can alter the form of its petal to shelter the pollinating insect.

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