We have another Gongora for you today. Gongora maculata is one of the larger growing species and produces large flowers on long pendulous spikes. The flowers on this clone are very heavily spotted in dark red but there are less spotted clones around.
We grow the plant like all our Gongoras in a basket so that it can be hung up when the flower spikes appear although we find plants prefer to sit on a bench when not in flower as they are then much easier to keep well watered. We find that plants prefer wet roots and dryer air to keep leaves in good condition and to make up the large bulbs which produce multiple long flower spikes.
This grand orchid is native to lowland forest in Java and is clearly determined to become a giant orchid over time. The plant produces stiff alternate leaves 30cm long and then long spikes of flowers – the plant has three spikes out today – each with at least ten large and very fragrant flowers.
The plant is loving life in Warm Asia and has a new growth coming near the base an so will become a multi-stemmed plant over time.
One of the flower spikes.
Some times this plant is listed as a separate species Vanda suavis and seperate from the other form of Vanda tricolor (also found in Java) which has fewer, rounder flowers, but we will follow theplantlist.org in our labelling.
Yesterday we had Gomesa crispa from the Mata Atlantica forests of Eastern Brazil and here is another from the same region. Dryadella edwallii is a miniature orchid previosly included in Masdevallia. It is an epiphyte found in humid gullies amongst ridges at around 1300m where it will experience low light levels and constant damp surrounded by mosses and ferns.
To replicate these natural conditions we grow the species mounted (we find all tiny miniatures do best and look best mounted) on bare cork bark hanging on a north facing wall in Cool Americas where it never gets direct sunshine . We spray it daily with rain water and add a low concentration of feed (300-400 microseimens) in every other watering tank.
The flowers are long lasting and relatively large for the plant that has leaves just 3cm long.
This is a Brazilian species that we found growing abundantly the forests around Macae de Cima in our expeditions in 2000 and 2005. Gomesa crispa is a pioneer species that is one of the first epiphytes to establish in regrowth forest as soon as humidity is high enough for moss to grow at the base of the trunks of young trees the plant will establish in this moss as a very low level epiphyte just 10cm off the ground. It also grows in more mature forest and in elfin forest on mountain ridges.
The flowers are a yellow/green colour but very attractively crisped (hence the name) and a healthy plant produces a very long spikes and usually two spikes from each bulb (see photo)
We used have grown this species successfully in both Cool Americas and Warm Americas but we find it does best grown in Warm Americas which is a little warmer and dryer than its natural habitat perhaps reflecting its liking for regrowth forest.
The photo here from our 2005 trip to Brazil shows the natural habitat for the species in relatively open regrowth forest with young trees.