365 days of orchids – day 562 – Stelis thermophila

This is one of our most floriferous species producing masses of pinky brown flowers in the early summer.

Stelis thermophila is native to Brazil where it grows at lower altitudes than some of our cloud forest Stelis species (hence the name meaning warm growing). Despite this we find the species is very happy in our Cool America section where we grow it mounted and in pots.


365 days of orchids – day 561 – Brassavola cuculata

Another species that is enjoying our hot spell is Brassavola cuculata.

This terete leaved species is found through Central America and northern South America. We have seen it growing and flowering in Guatemala where it was growing in dryish lowland forest near the ancient Mayan city of Yaxha. The plant below was flowering on the edge of a small cliff south of Laguna Yaxha attached to a fallen branch.

A nearby tree had been blown horizontal by hurricanes and so hung over the cliff with several seedlings of Brassavola cucullata growing along its trunk.

We find that the species grows best mounted or in baskets of open bark in good light in our Warm Americas section. The species is night scented and pollinated by moths.


365 days of orchids – day 560 – Renanthera imschootiana


We have now had several weeks of very hot weather and this is not enjoyed by some of our cool mountain orchids. Renathera imshcootiana on the other hand is loving the sun and the warmth.

This amazing red relative of Vanda is unfortunately one of the orchid species threatened by the trade in unsustainable wild collection. It is native to the Eastern Himalayas where it grows in warm evergreen forest along rivers from 500 to 1000m. Fortunately like most tropical epiphytic orchids it is easy to grow from seed to make the species common in cultivation and so reduce the pressure for wild collection.

The species grows as a single stem with stiff 15cm alternate leaves making a very stately plant with the most dramatic red flowers (the photographs do not do the colour justice) on long branched spikes.

The flowers are long lasting and this plant has been blooming since early June when it won an award at the Malvern Show.


365 days of orchids – day 559 – Cymbidium erythrostylum

Most of our cymbidium species flower in the autumn and spring but this species is an exception flowering from July until September.

This small growing cymbidium is native to Vietnam where it grows in cool forests at around 1500m. We find this species very straight forward and reliable with the advantage of flowering relatively quickly from seed. The plant shown in the photograph flowered three years out of flask and is now carrying a seed pod for the next generation. It also won best Cymbidium at our recent Orchid Festival.

The species is quite variable in the size of the flower and the colour of the lip striping which varies from deep red to scarlet/orange. The white of the flowers is very white and always attracts attention.

We have recently found that Cymbidium erythrostylum makes a great parent with the flowering of our hybrid between this species and Cymbidium tigrinum (hybrid shown below)


365 days of orchids – day 558 – Pleurothallis convallaria

This species is new to 365 days and has dramatic hairy flowers 5mm across. Flowers are dark red and the hairs are white.

The species is native to elfin forest (dwarf forests on misty ridges that is usually very rich in epiphytes) in Central America and it seems at home in a basket in Cool Americas where we keep plants well watered all year.