365 days of orchids – day 384 – Dendrobium litoreum


This interesting small growing species native to Papua and New Guinea is another new species for 365 days. We have had the plant for many years and each year it produces short lived flowers over a period of months from its older growths.

The plant has overlapping fleshy leaves that over time fall off to reveal the flattened pseudobulb beneath.

The species is reported as found in lowland swamps and overhanging rivers and in cultivation it seems to really suit mounting so that its stems can fall into their naturally pendulous habit. We grow the species shaded and sprayed daily in our Warm Asia section (min 18C)



365 days of orchids – day 383 – Barkeria whartonia


Barkeria whartonia is native to Oaxaca state, Mexico, where it grows in dry deciduous forest either as an epiphyte of on rocks . As a result it produces masses of thick roots that resent being surrounded by damp compost and prefer being exposed to the air. We grow plants mounted and hanging high in our Warm Americas Section (min 15C) where plants are exposed to good light and lots of air. Plants produce thin stems about 30cm long with lush but short-lived leaves and then a branching flower spike that adds a further 80cm to the growth.

With us, Barkeria whartonia starts to flower in December and will still be flowering in March. New growth follow flowering and we water plants every day when in growth.


365 days of orchids – day 382 – Masdevallia decumana


This amazing miniature species only reaches 6cm high but produces masses of large spotted flowers 7cm from tail to tail. The plant shown in our photos today is in a 3cm pot but we also grow the species mounted.

Masdevallia decumana (the name means large flowered Masdevallia) is native to cloud forests in Ecuador and Peru from 1000-2500m. We find it enjoys Cool Americas (Min 12C) where it is kept well watered all year.

The plants we split and mounted on January 1st are all doing well and so we hope to have a few plants for sale later in the year once they are properly established.


365 days of orchids – day 381 – Stelis genychila


Stelis is a genus closely related to Masdevallias and Pleurothallis. They are not widely grown in collections but the orchid project has been a big fan since exploring the forests of Brazil and Costa Rica where students came across many of these small flowered but very attractive species.

Stelis genychila like most Stelis species has flattish flowers with three larger sepals, forming a triangle, and much smaller petals and lip in the centre. These parts are easier to spot in Stelis genychila than many stelis species as the flowers are rather large and beautifully coloured.

The plan is medium sized for a stelis with leaves about 20cm long and the 30cm flower spikes have two opposite rows of 10-14 flowers. Leaves flower repeatedly over many years and so mature plants produce many spikes. We find that this species flowers reliably from December through to March.

Stelis genychila is endemic to Colombia where it is found at around 2300m in cool cloud forest.


365 days of orchids – day 380 – Dryadella edwalii


This miniature relative of Masdevallia is native to the Mata Atlantica cloud forests of Eastern Brazil. Students recorded Dryadella species on our 2005 expedition to Brazil on their trek up to Velutina ridge (the habitat of Cattleya velutina)

The dryadellas were growing on the lower trunks of stunted trees in elfin forest near a ridge at around 1200m altitude. The trees had a number of orchids on them including maxillaria species and pleurothallis species, and the dryadellas were growing below these other orchids and some of them growing very low light as shown in the photos taken in Brazil (Below).

We find plants do best for us mounted but then grown in heavy shade on a north facing wall and sprayed daily. The flowers are long lasting and small can produce a lot of flowers which stand well clear of the leaves.