The final orchid for 365 days of orchids is this lovely epidendrum species. We really hope that you have enjoyed our daily orchid species in flower. We have now covered each of our 1000 species at least once and feel it is time to move on. We will still be posting every week with ‘this week in the greenhouse’.
Exploring the forests of Costa Rica on our school expeditions we have been fascinated by the diversity of epidendrum species we have come across.
We were fortunate to observe a glass wing butterfly pollinating the similar Epidendrum piliatum in Costa Rica on our last school expedition (photo below). Epidendrum paniculatum is also a classic butterfly pollinated species that both provides a nectar filled tube at the base of the lip, and a grabbing platform at the end of the lip.
Epidendrum paniculatum is a lovely species and as traditionally described was found throughout Central and South America in cool wet forest above 1000m but the complex (group of similar species) has been split into several species with the true Epidendrum paniculatum being endemic to Peru.
We grow the species in baskets and it flowers from small plants 15cm high with a few flowers and when taller produces many flowers on branched spikes.
The penultimate orchid in 365 days of orchids is a miniature that reminds me of wonderful expeditions to the cool forests of Costa Rica.
This charming miniature pleurothallis is native to the cloud forests of Costa Rica (as the name suggests) and Panama up to 1800m. We find it thrives in low light in our Cool Americas section both mounted and potted where it produces its sprays of small bright yellow flowers sporadically throughout the year.
We find that the species is slow growing and compact but eventually makes a real specimen like this one.
We have some summer flowering cymbidium species in flower this week – the first is Cymbidium suarvissimum.
Cymbidium suavissimum is not a common species and has only been found in small areas of northern Myanmar and northern Vietnam where it is found in warmish evergreen forests at about 800-1000m so is a little warmer growing than many of the Himalayan cymbidiums. It is also unusual in being a July/August flowering species. It’s closest cousin is Cymbidium floribundum which has similar flowers but is smaller growing with less flowers and none of the gorgeous scent (citrus and fruity) present in this species.
We have tried growing the species warm and cool and can now feel that the key to flowering the species is to grow decent sized pseudobulbs with plenty of feed and water through the growing season. It seems to resent being cold and damp in the winter but does not seem to like life too hot either, although it coped with this week.
The temperature has finally cooled in Radstock – a relief heat sensitive species including today’s Dracula sodiroi. The species is endemic to cool wet forests in Ecuador from 1500-2400m altitude and, in common with other dracula species, is sensitive to high temperatures if not kept very wet in summer. Heat stress shows at black spots on the leaves, our leaves are spotless despite the week we have just had
Dracula sodiroi has unique flowers that hang like little orange lanterns and are produced in twos or threes, well spaced, on spikes clear of the lush green leaves. The insides of the flowers are covered with white hairs. Flowers are about 2cm across and 4cm from the top to the tip of the tails.
The flowers are long lasting and once a plant is happy it will produce flowers on and off throughout the the summer and autumn making it a very rewarding species to grow.