NATURE UP CLOSE and PERSONAL
x
NATURE UP CLOSE and PERSONAL ~ FOLDER 4 ~ THE TENOM ORCHID CENTRE
Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi Vanda lamellata Vanda hookierana
Bulbophyllum species Dendrobium lamellatum Trichoglottis c.f. vandiflora
PLEASE CLICK ON A THUMBNAIL IMAGE TO VIEW THE LARGER PHOTO. MORE IMAGES BELOW

The Tenom Orchid Centre
TENOM is a small, quiet town in the interior of Sabah. It is about the size of Kajang in Selangor.* Although not many tourists - both domestic and foreign - head for Tenom, this "sleepy hollow" may yet find fame, albeit among a small band of people around the world with a special interest - the orchidologists.
 One of several centres established in Sabah for the conservation of orchids is located just outside Tenom town. The others are at the Forest Research Centre in Sepilok (a place famous for its Orang Utan rehabilitation centre), the Poring Hot Springs resort and the Moutain Garden in Kinabalu Park.
 It is at the Tenom Orchid Centre that intensive efforts are being made for the preservation, propogation, research and documentation of the orchid species found in Borneo in general and Sabah in particular.
 The Tenom Orchid Centre is also playing an important role as a key participant in The Orchid Flora of Borneo Project, an international programme begun in 1986 to identify and describe the orchid species found in Borneo.
 With an estimated 2,000 species so far recorded from Borneo, this book project is expected to take 20 years or more to complete. It is planned to be published in volumes of about 100 species, and with lavish illustrations, both botanical drawings and colour photographs, it may run into 30 or more volumes.
 The other major organisations involved in the project are the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England, the Rijksherbarium at Leiden, Holland, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
 The Kew Gardens' Orchid Herbarium is providing the main backup since it has the largest collection of herbarium material and literature to help with identification and nomenclature.
 Others providing help in the project are Sabah Parks, the Sabah Forest Research Centre, the Forest Department and National Parks, Sarawak, and a number of botanists in other institutions, both local and overseas.
 Preparation of the first volume has been completed recently and the Sabah Society has agreed to publish it. A further six volumes are now being prepared by local and overseas orchidologists. Local experts involved include Mr Chan Chew Lun working on Coelogyne and related genera and Mr William Wong working on Dendrobium and related genera.
 The Tenom Orchid Centre was established in September 1979 within the 625-hectare Tenom Agriculture Research Station in Lagud Sebrang, 15 kilometres from Tenom town.
 Mr Anthony Lamb, a Briton who has made Sabah his home since he "came out here" in 1967, is head of the orchid centre. He is also the principal research officer of the agriculture station as well as head of its Fruit Trees Division.
 Mr Lamb, an internationally renowned botanist with expert knowledge of Sabah's orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants (Nepenthaceae), is writing the volume on Sarcanthine and other orchids.
 This writer, who visited the Tenom Orchid Centre recently with some members of the Malaysian Nature Society, met both Mr Lamb and Mr Chan Chew Lun, who was then working on drawings for the second volume.
 Mr Chan, better known as C.L. Chan, is a well-known botanical artist whose paintings or orchids are collected by enthusiasts.
 He stopped work and showed our group around the one-hectare orchid centre (there are more than 450 species growing here), while Mr Lamb had to attend to matters at the agriculture station.
  We did manage to talk briefly with Mr Lamb. He is deeply concerned over the "poaching" of rare and valuable orchids from the wild as well as the destruction, through logging activities, of species, some of which may not even have been recorded by scientists. He is one of the prime movers of The Orchid Flora of Borneo Project.
 The Tenom Orchid Centre has adopted the strategy of producing large quantities of seeds and seedlings of rare and desirable species for distribution to other institutions and onwards to orchid breeders.
 This is intended to depress the market value of such favoured species and make it less worthwhile for commercial collectors to smuggle them out of our forests.
 As part of this undertaking, the Tenom Orchid Centre has made provisional arrangements with the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the propogation unit of the Kew Gardens to germinate seeds sent from Sabah.
 One can get to Tenom by road or by rail from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. The railway track from Beaufort - a small town to the south-west - to Tenom runs beside the scenic Padas Gorge.
 * While this gives an indication of Tenom's size in 1990, it may no longer be true today as Kajang has grown very rapidly as a result of the intensive development and population growth of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and the Klang Valley.
 ** Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Mr. C. L. Chan for identifying most of the orchid species shown here.
Cleisostoma borneensis Cleisostoma species Vanda lamellata

Orchid species, not identified


Orchid species, not identified


Orchid species, not identified

This page revised on August 18, 2018. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin