Former Pingdeng Village Head, Commissioner Zhou expressed during the interview that the reason for calling orchid the national orchid is not because orchid is Taiwan native species but because the seedling is purchased in Taiwan with a variety of species, and thereby collectively known as national orchid. Many farmers in the Pingding Area grow orchid and turns this area into the center of national orchid. If the orchids are planted in China and other area, it would have been directly named of the species rather than the national orchid. Commissioner Zhou further explained the development process of local national orchid into the follows:
1. Thriving Period: The residents mostly involve in farming routinely. Between 1984 and 1996, the economy of Taiwan developed fast with surging stock price, leading to the trend of “growing orchids.” This was the peak period for growing national orchids here. National orchid became the part-time job for the residents and nearly every household grew orchids.
2. Declining Period: Declining economy, falling stock price, and disappearing popularity. However there are still people growing locally. Currently due to the fast growing economy in China and affluent life, the trend of appreciating orchid becomes popular and hence most orchids are now exported to China. Nonetheless the quantity of orchids growing in Pingdeng Area is substantially reduced when compared with before.
The reason for Pingding Village farmers to mostly grow orchids on their home rooftop is that:
(1) Full sunlight, and convenient to take care.
(2) Peripheral residents are conservative and pure, while growing orchids on the rooftop will prevent theft. On contrary, growing orchids inside the house in the city could be likely stolen and robbed.(q)
In the process of site survey, Irrigation Association Section Leader Zhou specifically arranged orchid greenhouse activity for us, where we could ask questions on national orchids from Mr. Lin. We understood the two key observations on orchids with his explanation, namely:
1. Flower artistry: Pay attention to the color of flower, distribution and look.
2. Linear artistry: Appreciate the white spots, lines and other features of growth presented on the surface of leaves.
The orchids exported to China consist mainly of appreciation of linear arts. The pot of orchids containing only few leaves and the different patterns on the leaves will all affect the price. The orchids with special patterns could value up to few million NT dollars.
Mr. Lin said that the seedling he currently purchases mostly come from China and therefore the export mainly goes to Sichuan and Jiangsu, China. The key observation for Chinese collectors not only focuses on spots on leaves but also the pose presented by orchids during blossoming. Apart from purchasing seedling from different places, Mr. Lin would mix with species from different regions when growing the orchids. It is highly valuable when one can cultivate a pot of orchids with special patterns. The leaves of this plant will be divided so to continue the preservation of the gene for this look. Moreover, Mr. Lin explained the following regarding orchid cultivation:
1. Orchids can survive for 3~5 years with good care.
2. The average temperature for growing environment is 25℃ and ventilation will be provided depending on the weather condition due to the humidity on the mountain.
3. Daylight is the key to plantation. The greenhouse requires the installation of lightbulb for sunlight because of the insufficient winter sunlight. Currently Mr. Lin plans to replace with infrared lamp and provide better lighting on the plants.
4. Taiwan weather is highly humid and orchids are susceptible to insect pests that cause leaves and roots to rot, and will require routine spray of medical prevention.
Finally Mr. Lin said that the price of orchids is expensive and he had bad memories of theft and robbery. To prevent theft of orchids by thief, the peripheral of orchids will require installing windows with metal fence and anti-burglar system for prevention. It shows that planting orchids is like taking care of children and require much consideration, suggesting the value of orchids. (r)
(q)Oral narration by former Pingdeng Village Head, Commissioner Zhou
(r)Oral narration by National Orchid Grower Mr. Lin