Spathoglottis 'Rimba Ilmu'

A primary hybrid named after our Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden

Spathoglottis 'Rimba Ilmu' is a captivating primary hybrid (i.e., hybrid between two natural species) created by crossing Spathoglottis lobbii with S. unguiculata. The seed parent, S. lobbii, occurs naturally in the Myanmar and northern Thailand area. The pollen parent, S. unguiculata, is native to the region of New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Pollinated in October 2006, the first bloom was achieved in January 2008. The hybrid was registered with the Royal Horticultural Society on 28 January 2008. It is named for Rimba Ilmu, the botanical garden of the University of Malaya, where Malaysia's first conservatory highlighting rare indigenous plants and orchids was established in 2000.

The flower form is of a broad star shape. The sepals and petals are approximately equal in length, the width and flower height both about 3.5 cm. The petals are broad midway and tapering at both ends, but approximately 25% broader than the sepals. The lip has a narrow mid-lobe with a fishtail-shaped apex, and upright side lobes of a broad inverted L-shape, located at the base of the mid-lobe.

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    Brilliantly coloured flowers of Spathoglottis ‘Rimba Ilmu’.

    (Photo: N.F. Lee)

The flower is an orange-tinged deep pink, with a splash of yellow in the centre. There is conspicuous pink-red venation on the petals and sepals. The apical portions of the side and mid-lobes have dark red-pink patches. There are fine red spottings towards the base of the mid-lobe, on the upright callus and towards the throat.

Spathoglottis is an ideal group of orchids for landscaping as well as potted plants. Being fast-growing ground orchids that are easy to maintain, they tend to bloom all year round.

This hybrid was registered by Lee Nam Fook, 28 January 2008.

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    Spathoglottis ‘Rimba Ilmu’ is a free-flowering hybrid.

    (Photo: N.F. Lee)

What's New at Rimba Ilmu

Our MILLENIUM FOREST effort: Intensive plantings of Malaysian rainforest trees in the garden.

Although routinely some additions are made from time to time, we were able to begin, at the end of September 2001, planting out very special forest species donated to us for establishing a special new Arboretum, as well as generally augment the plantings in the Garden in a significant way. This work will continue through 2002 and beyond, and starts off on the ground the Rimba Ilmu's Millenium Forest programme, through which we build one of tomorrow's forests for Kuala Lumpur. Our emphasis this year is to involve more volunteers who can be contacted when we periodically handle large numbers of new plantings: this calls for a willingness to get on with planting trees "hands-on".

Over 1200 trees of many different species have already been planted out since the initiation of this new effort, which is largely supported through the generosity of Mr J. Kingham.

Over 2004-2005 DHL joined hands with Rimba Ilmu to establish a special conservation collection of Malaysian forest trees. This was one of the first interactions between the botanic garden and a private sector company which is encouraging lasting interest in the Malaysian environment. The collection has been established in an area near the northeastern part of the Garden and a site by a slope overlooking a small stream has now been planted with a special selection of Malaysian forest tree species. These include both dipterocarps and non-dipterocarps, from Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

Rare Plants and Orchid Conservatory

Special tours of the Conservatory of Rare Plants and Orchids will be held immediately after each Guided Garden Walk (see above), time-permitting: Transport yourself into the world of rare and endemic plants, and gain an insight into what causes their rarity and how they may be specially endangered. This facility is not normally open to the public as it caters mainly to research, and small children may not be admitted when not properly supervised by parents/guardians.

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    A bed of Paphiopedilum barbatum slipper orchids in the Conservatory.

    (Photo: F. L. Tang)

Year 2003 Environmental Education Programmes

Our Environmental Education Programme is targetted at one-day or half-day sessions for school students. These are attended to by trained Nature Education Officers and supported by specialist staff of the Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden. Call or email Mr Low Yee Wen or Mr Shan early to confirm: 03-79674690 or email

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    A view of the Courtyard of the Rimba Ilmu Building, across from where the Herbarium is located.

    (Photo: K. M. Wong)

Opening Hours

Please note our opening hours and that we are closed on Saturdays (except for first Saturdays), Sundays and Public Holidays (Federal Territory).