WSBEorchids

Bulbophyllum collettii – 365 days of orchids – day 1938

We have another Bulbophyllum species today (lucky us) – Although closely related to yesterday’s Bulbophyllum guttulatum the flower of Bulbophyllum collettii is very different with the lateral sepals elongated into a long tube like structure at the bottom of each flower.

Bulbophyllum collettii is native to forests from India to Northern Thailand. Its intricate flowers attract fly pollinators and a really worth a close look. They do not have a strong foul smell as you might expect but delicate fishy smell.

Bulbophyllum collettii is a compact grower (the plant here is in an 8cm basket) but with large flowers and is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures as it is found from 200m altitude in hot lowland forests right up to 2000m in cool evergreen forest. We find it grows best in our Warm Asia Section where is is a reliable flowerer in late spring.

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Bulbophyllum guttulatum – 365 days of orchids – day 1937

One of our most floriferous orchids is this delightful, compact, Bulbophyllum species. Bulbophyllum guttulatum flowers over a long period from early summer through to the autumn.

Bulbophyllum guttulatum is found from the Himalayas across to Vietnam in evergreen monsoon forest from 800 to 2000m. Its 2cm flowers have wonderful spotting (well worth zooming in on the photos)

We know this habitat well from our travels in Sikkim with its warm wet summers. The winters are dryer but plants would not experience long periods with no moisture and so keep their rather soft lush leaves. We water plants throughout the year and find they grow well both in pots and baskets. As the range of the plant indicates, the species is not too fussy about temperature and with us grows in any of our sections with minimum temperatures above 10C though it seems to marginally prefer the warmest temperatures of Warm Asia. It may be that our clone has its genetic origins in the lower altitudinal range.

 

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Masdevallia lappifera – 365 days of orchids – day 1936

It is a treat to see this dramatic masdevallias flowering again.

Masdevallia lappifera of one of our most robust and reliable Masdevallias. The large flowers are produced on short stems and are remarkable for the purple ‘hairs’ on the lip which give the species its name meaning the burred Masdevallia. The flowers are very long lasting and the species spends several months a year in flower.

The species is endemic to Ecuador and found at around 1200m. We grow Masdevallia lappifera mounted in Cool Americas and find that the species enjoys being kept well watered and shaded. In common with several related species with thick leaves M. lappifera can suffer spotting from heat stress if kept dry and bright.

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Coelogyne fragrans – 365 days of orchids – day 1935

Coelogyne fragrans is a gorgeous species, native to Papua New Guinea with large flowers produced over a long time. It is reported in montane forests from 100 to 2000m which suggests it can thrive in a wide range of temperatures but with us it definitely prefers it cool and we find that plants do best in our Cool Asia section (min 10C). The species flowers from early Summer right through to Autumn and today is the start of flowering for 2022.

Plants flower profusely from the developing new growths and the flowers are really large at 4cm across.

We have tried growing plants warmer but plants grow smaller thinner bulbs and have less flowers per stem.

Some related species are sequential with their flowering while this species produces 2-4 of its large flowers per spike, with all the flowers opening together and giving a great display. We find that plants enjoy really heavy watering as the growths develop over the summer.

 

 

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Pleurothallis sclerophyla – 365 days of orchids – day 1934

This is an orchid we fell in love with on our first expedition to Brazil in 2000 when we found it growing abundantly on mountain ridges at around 1200-1400m in cloud forest.

Pleurothallis sclerophyla is a wonderful Brazilian species that produces masses of 2cm wide creamy yellow flowers. If you look closely at the flowers you see that they have three long thin sepals, all with slightly hairy edges, two tiny petals with red tips and a tiny yellow lip.

Here is the plant in the wild growing at shoulder height on a small tree in mossy forest on a ridge at 1400m.

This photograph of the species near Macae de Cima shows a plant growing in the trunk of a tree in moist forest with a fair amount of moss on most trees and additional humidity coming from the large amount of bromeliads present in the habitat. The photo shows old spikes as well as new, and the habit of flowering for many years from the same leaf axil explains the dramatic flowering display give by mature plants like our plant flowering in the school greenhouse two years ago (below).

Our Cool Americas gives a close match with the native habitat – cool (min 12C) , moist, and shaded.

 

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