Asian honey bee pollinates pigeon orchid flower

A lone Asian honey bee (Apis cerana) was observed flitting in between fresh blooms of pigeon orchid (Dendrobium crumenatum) flowers on 19 December 2021.  A very short video of the bee in action is captured in the video below.

 

Pigeon orchids are epiphytes which bloom when a critical drop in night temperature stimulates the underdeveloped flower buds to complete their growth, and to burst forth in unison approximately 10 days later.  The flowers are highly-scented but stay in bloom for 1 day only.

The Asian honey bee is frequently seen in this vicinity.  They are often seen buzzing around the coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) flowers. I managed to take a short video of a bee pollinating the pigeon orchid.

Photo 1. The honey bee flitted from flower to flower.
Photo 2. The orchids were growing on a Hibiscus sinensis branch. The many blooms emitted a fragrant scent that attracted the photographer to the flowers. 19 December 2021.
Photo 3. Close-up photo of a flower.
Photo 4. The following day, all the flowers from the previous day had closed to look like white pigeons. However, 3 late bloomers were seen in this photo. 20 December 2021.
Photo 5. A single flower that looked like a little white pigeon.
Photo 6. Another perspective of 2 flowers seen on the following day.

 

Read this post by YC Wee of his description of this intriguing orchid.

All photos ©  Teo Lee Wei

Article by Teo Lee Wei

References:

  1. A guide to the BEES OF SINGAPORE by Zestin W>W> & John S. Ascher © 2020
  2. 1001 Garden Plants in Singapore by Boo Chih Min, Kartini Omar-Hor & Ou-Yang Chow Lin © 2003
  3. https://www.nparks.gov.sg/nparksbuzz/issue-04-vol-1-2010/conservation/when-orchids-flower-gregariously

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