365 days of orchids – day 269 – Aerangis brachycarpa

This stunning species is native to East Africa from Ethiopia through Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and south to Zambia and Angola. It is found in highland forests (1500-2300m) in deep shade on tree trunks.

The plants are quite stout for Aerangis and this plant that we de-flasked in 2005 has taken twelve years to reach its current size.  The photo below shows it along with Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta (day 59) which is a much smaller thing all round.

As you can see from the photo our plant of Aerangis luteo-alba rhodosticta is flowering again and even better than in February. Aerangis is a spectacular genus and I am delighted that we have several species in flask for those looking to buy seedlings which will be ready in about a year.


365 days of orchids – day 268 – Oncidium excavatum


This is a terrestrial species found in Peru and Ecuador where it grows on steep banks from 2400 to 2800m altitude in cool forest. Like many of the terrestrial oncidiums it has long upright flower spikes to present the flowers above surrounding vegetation and the flowers are clustered near the top of the branched spikes.

We grow the species in pots or baskets in Cool Americas in good light and keep plants watered throughout the year. Flowering reliably happens in September and the long lasting flowers will still be with us into November.


Life after the Orchid Project

Hello everyone its Heather. Its been a long time since I’ve left Writhlington School and blogged last. This is a little update of what I’ve been up to after leaving the Orchid Project.

After I finished A levels I took a gap year where I spent 5 months in Rwanda, which was all documented on this blog which is where I left you last. Since then I have started at the University of Chester studying Conservation Biology I am finding everything very fascinating and enjoying expanding my knowledge beyond orchids. Even though I have moved away to university my passion for traveling hasnt gone. This summer I spent 6 weeks in Malawi of which 4 weeks were spent volunteering on a Carnivore research project in Kasungu National Park working mostly with leopards and hyenas. I was able to get involved in current research about human-wildlife conflict and learn key tracking and identification skills as unlike orchids, carnivores don’t stay in the same place. After my time in Kasungu National park, I spent 2 weeks traveling Malawi and visited Lake Malawi and kayaked to see the amazing cichlids.

I am about to start my second year at Chester and cannot wait for what traveling opportunities it brings.


365 days of orchids – day 267 – Restrepia antenifera ‘gigantea’

This is our largest growing Restrepia species and it carries flowers with a 3cm long synsepal. Restrepia antenifera is the type species for the genus and is found in cool forests, usually on trunks, from 1600 to 3500m altitude in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.

We find the species does well in pots, baskets or mounted but can get a little straggly as it grows new plants (keikis) on top of its leaves. This does however make propagation easy.


365 days of orchids – day 266 – Platystele misera

Misera means insignificant which seems very harsh on this pretty miniature species found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. (Perhaps the English botanist John Lindley was having a bad day when he named it!)

This is the second Platystele to feature in 365 days (see Platystele misasiana Day 85) and this one has 1mm flowers that bloom successively on spikes over a long period. This means that plants are surrounded by a little cloud of flowers for most of the year.

The flowers are well worth a close look with a magnifying glass especially the contrasting salmon red lip. As with most of our miniatures from the cloud forests of South America this species thrives mounted and well watered in Cool Americas.