A mixed collection is always fill of pleasant surprises and this morning it was the first flowering of this gorgeous Bulbophyllum seedling.
Bulbophyllum vaginatum is a Sarawak orchid and so one of the species we are keen to propagate for our project with partners in Kuching. The species produces massed heads of cream and yellow flowers with very long sepals giving a lovely display. The plant produces bulbs spaced along a rhizome that makes it really tricky in a pot but great mounted. Now that we know the size it needs to be to flower we will attch it to a much larger piece of cork bark so that it can scramble at will and make a specimen while we collect seed for the lab.
Bulbophyllum vaginatum is found over a wide range including Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and Java where it grows in lowland swamp forest and mangrove. We have explored this habitat extensively in Sarawak where the climate is warm, with rainfall throughout the year but plants dry out in between rains, trees are evergreen and most orchids grow on the upper trunk and lower branches in some shade – conditions we provide mounted in our Warm Asia section although our winter minimum of 17C is a little lower than the plant would prefer.
This species is new to 365 days of orchids and it is a pleasure to share more of our 900 amazing orchid species.
Related to the past two day’s Masdevallias we have another small growing cloud forest species in Pleurothallis tridentata. The species has 5cm heart shaped leaves on thin stems and charming miniature yellow flowers produced in ones and twos throughout the year.
The species is reported as native to cloud forests from Venezuela to Peru and as a very variable species. This suggests the name may be applied to more than one species.
We grow the species mounted and potted in deep shade where we keep it well watered throughout the year.
It seems to be turning into Masdevallia week here at Writhlington. Today we have a miniature species that produces multiple flowers on each spike. The leaves are 8cm high with spikes to 15cm with two to six flowers each.
Masdevallia pachyura is found in cloud forests from 1000 to 3000m in Ecuador and Peru. As could be expected from its range it is a variable species but all have pretty little flowers and in our experience the species is straight forward in cultivation and multiplies relatively quickly.
This variety is named ‘caudas orange’ and is from the Ecuagenera nursery in Ecuador and the deep orange lip contrasts beautifully with the yellow tails on the sepals, and the plants have the added bonus of attractive glossy dark leaves.
The species does well in pots and baskets and we keep it watered well throughout the year in Cool Americas (min 12C)
Regulars will know that amongst our many fragrant orchid species we have some real stinkers, and Masdevallia picea is one of them.
Masdevallia picea is native to cloud forests in Peru at around 2700m altitude where its large deep red flowers attract fly pollinators assisted by the scent of rotting stuff – it reminds me of vomit, and not in a good way! Despite the smell it is a really intriguing orchid, and one I would not be without. As well as bing large and attractive, the flowers are waxy and long lasting – and of course a real talking point when we have visitors.
One of our smaller stelis species, and one of the most charming, is this little species that flowers throughout the year but with a main flowering in August and September.
Stelis stevensonii is a vigorous small growing plant that produces multiple spikes of well spaced little flowers typical of the genus.
This species is endemic to Ecuador and lives in wet forests at around 1600m. This is a warmer habitat than some of our species are adapted for making this species less fussy about warm days in the greenhouse, ideal for indoor culture, and an easy plant to grow as long as it is kept well watered and shaded. The plant here is in a 3cm pot.
If you look closely at the flowers with a magnifying glass they have hairy edges to the sepals – an extra bonus for a rewarding orchid species.
We have several plants available at the online shop that will flower this autumn.