In the effort to research, survey and conserve the diversity of orchids in Indonesia, the Indonesian Botanic Gardens have established a vast collection of wild orchid species. While the primary collection is housed in Bogor Botanic Garden, the gardens at Cibodas, Purwodadi and Bali also possess important collections. Each of the gardens undertakes expeditions several times every year to collect specimens.
Indonesia - and most particularly Bogor - has been a centre for orchid research since the 19th Century. Engelbert Kaempfer, an employee of the Dutch East India Company in Indonesia, provided the earliest recorded notes on orchids. Following his travels in Indonesia from 1690-1692, he published notes and drawings on Javanese orchids in 1712. Around the same time, another Dutchman - Georgius Everhardus Rumphius - spent years collecting, identifying, describing and illustrating the indigenous flora of Ambon (Maluku).
C.L. Blume, assistant Director of the Buitenzorg (Bogor) Botanic Garden 1822-26 focused on methods of orchid classification. One of the most eminent and productive Botanists, Johannes Jacob Smith (1867-1947) was a former Director of the Herbarium Bogoriense.
The Bogor Botanic Garden's fascinating collection of orchids focuses primarily on wild species, numbering approximately 900 species from over 100 genera. The glasshouses contain over 5,000 accessions native to Indonesia, with more arriving after each collecting expedition. The specimens you see in the Garden's collections are either the original specimens gathered from the forest, or progeny of those specimens which have been propagated.
Research and Development
The Bogor Botanic Garden began focusing on orchid germination, cultivation and propagation in the 1970's. Because certain wild species do not survive for long in collections, it is important to propagate the collections within a year or two after their arrival in the Gardens. New collections are first potted and placed in the propagation house: once they are growing well, they are then moved to the main greenhouses. The collections can then be propagated by two methods: cultivation of seed pods and meristem culture.
Java was the first site for the culture of orchid seedlings, and the same techniques are used in the laboratory today. Seed propagation involves collection of the pods and germination of seeds in a special planting mixture. At the Gardens the growing media is made from a mixture of agar, tomato, bean sprout extract and coconut milk. Meristem culture is a method of cloning the original plant by making divisions of meristematic tissue.