Dove orchids in flower

white orchids with yellow tongues
Dove orchids promising rain to come

We noticed that our dove orchids were in bud yesterday and this morning they were all in flower. I went out to take a photo for the blog and couldn’t work out why I was so disappointed with the result until I realised that I was missing the scent … silly, really, but quite unconscious.

I introduced these orchids at some length in November 2011 and won’t repeat all that information here but just say that they are a well-established exotic, Dendrobium crumenatum, and are generally thought to predict rain. My readers have been informally helping me test that theory via their comments to that post, and my summary of the results so far is that it’s beginning to look like we have two patterns:

  1. Flowers appear a few days before heavy rain.
  2. Flowers appear very soon after a thunderstorm breaks a dry spell.

Today’s flowering is our first this year and we haven’t had any thunderstorms recently, so they must be saying rain is on the way. Our weather forecasters agree, saying that there is a moderate chance of a cyclone forming off the northern coast in the next few days and a good chance of some heavy rain from that weather system whether it becomes a cyclone or not. All we can do is wait and see.


11 thoughts on “Dove orchids in flower”

    1. Yes, I was thinking the same thing: we have had thunderstorms and a total of over 60 mm of rain, starting on the evening of the 19th. That’s close enough for me!
      And now you’re expecting rain up there, I guess.

  1. Our orchids have been uncannily accurate and reliable for the month of March, predicting no rain day after day after day and proving almost 100% correct … we got less than 5mm for the month.
    More seriously, our orchids put out a few flowers yesterday and more today. They seem fairly sure it will rain just before Anzac Day. If they are right, everyone except Anzac parade organisers and marchers will be happy.

  2. Our dove orchids were in bud yesterday and are flowering today – all of our clumps, but none very prolifically. Still, there’s a lovely scent in the garden and we will look out for real rain (not the half-hearted 0.1mm drizzle we’ve had recently) around the middle next week.

    1. The BoM says that we had no rain at all on June 1 – 8, 8mm on the 9th and 2.6 on the 10th. A total of 11 mm is not terribly impressive but it’s all we’ve had since late April and the most we’ve had in a single week since early February (I did say it has been a very dry Wet season) so I’m going to call that a PASS.

  3. Our doves are flowering again today, for the first time since June. There are not many flowers but all clumps are flowering. Let’s hope they are right, because we have been desperately dry all winter, with a total of about 6 mm for the last three and a half months. No, that’s not 6 mm per month, either – it’s 6 mm altogether! – while the average rainfall over the period is about 60 mm.

  4. Our dove orchids came out in full bloom. We are in Dimbulah. Very very little rain.
    Flowers came out, with much surprise. Then we got over 50 mm in a week. Orchids
    Now covered in buds again. We really need the rain. Fingers crossed these beautiful
    Flowers are correct.

    1. Thanks, Sue!
      I have to say my doves have been wrong recently, since we had rain on the 9th and again on the 14th but they didn’t predict either lot by flowering anywhere around the 1st or 5th as they should done.
      Never mind – the rain is more important than whether or not the orchids give us advance notice of it.

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