Trichoglottis pusilla – 365 days of orchids – day 1164

This species won miniature orchid of the year, 2019, in our public vote, and I understand why.

The plants are tiny (5cm across) and the flowers are relatively large and wonderfully striped.

Trichoglottis pusilla is native to Java where it grows in rain forest from 1000 to 2000m altitude. We grow this species mounted in Warm Asia where it lives high up but shaded on a mesh frame that allows good air movement but easy spraying with rain water and feed every day.

As you can see we have two clones that are different in the flower shape and habit but in recent years the two clones’ flowers open within a day of each other. The flowers are long lasting and will be a treat for any visitors over the next four weeks.


Coelogyne lawreneana – 365 days of orchids – day 1163

I am surprised to find that we have never featured this large flowered coelogyne on 365 days – it is long overdue.

Coelogyne lawrenceana is a warm growing species from the Himalayas through to Vietnam. We have seen related species in Laos as terrestrials and epiphytes usually growing in shade with luch green leaves and large pseudobulbs. The 10cm wide flowers are produces successively on spikes from the top of the bulbs giving months of flowering. The lip of the species is particularly beautiful with unusual raised crests and nobbles.

We grow the species in our Warm Asia section and find that the secret to good flowering is feeding and watering plants very well during the summer. If plants are kept too dry. they produce smaller bulbs that do not flower.


Dendrobium infundibulum – 365 days of orchids – day 1163

This large flowered, dramatic Dendrobium (the pseudobulbs are now over 1m in length) is native to the Eastern Himalayas from Assam through China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. We find it does best grown warm (we give it a minimum of 16C) where it seems to flower well without a marked rest period. The long pseudobulbs are particularly attractive with their covering of dark hairs. Flowers are produced in groups from the older pseudobulbs and so as the plant matures the flower count keeps increasing.

On our expeditions to Laos we have found its habitat in evergreen forest with hot wet summers and dryer cooler winters although dew is significant in the dry season leaving the forest damp every morning. It grows amongst the white Rhododendron lyi which it mimics, and is pollinated by a large bumble bee (Bombus eximius) that is hoping it is a rhododendron flower full of nectar. The orchid flowers before the rhododendron as bees that have seen both are not so easily fooled. The research, which I first read in the nineteen eighties, is really thorough and left a strong impression on a younger me.

(reference – Kjellsson, Gösta & Rasmussen, Finn & Dupuy, David. (1985). Pollination of Dendrobium infundibulum, Cymbidium insigne (Orchidaceae) and Rhododendron lyi (Ericaceae) by Bombus eximius (Apidae) in Thailand: a possible case of floral mimicry. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 1. 289 – 302.)

The species flowers several times each year and the individual flowers, although looking papery, last for two months.


Aerangis fastuosa – 365 days of orchids – day 1162

This miniature species from Madagascar is new to 365 days of Orchids and is a first flowering seedling grown as a house plant. Aerangis fastuosa means ‘the magnificent aerangis’ refering to the very large flowers for the very small plant – the rosette is just 7cm across. As you can just see in the side on photo, the flower has a very long spur that contains the nectar. This feature is shared with most Aerangis and is an adaption for pollination by long tongued  hawk moths.

The species is endemic to Madagascar and is found as a twig epiphyte in evergreen forest from 1000 to 1500m altitude. The plant shown is growing in my dining room 1m back from a large east facing window where it experiences good light but no direct sunlight. In Africa we have found a number of smaller aerangis species growing in deep shade and this habit makes them well suited to indoor culture. The thermostat on our heating is set at 18C which seems to suit this species perfectly. The p[lant is growing in course bark and is watered once of twice a week with rainwater (and added weak feed). The small coffee cup has holes drilled in its base for drainage.


Masdevallia lucernula – 365 days of orchids – day 1161


For a second day running we have a small growing Masdevallia and this one is astonishing. Several Masdevallia species have very bright flowers but M. lucernula must be our brightest species and with its scarlet tubular flowers positively glowing against its dark green leaves.

The name means little lantern which a great name to reference the shape and the colour of the flowers.

Masdevallia lucernula is found in very cool Peruvian cloud forests at around 2100m where it is pollinated by humming birds. We find the species challenging to grow well as it hates high temperatures and loses leaves every summer. It looks great at this time of year with fresh winter growth. The top photo shows this year with seven flowers and buds which is a good progress on last year.