Octomeria densiflora – 365 days of orchids – day 1373

Another sign of Autumn is the flowering of Octomeria densiflora. This species has featured in many of the great autumn shows we usually take part in. We are really missing meeting all our orchid show friends hope that we will see you all soon.

This beautiful species is native to the Mata Atlantica cool cloud forests of Brazil and a species we found near Macae de Cima on our expeditions in 2001 and 2006 at around 1300m altitude.

The lemon yellow flowers have a red lip,and are small (about 1cm across) but are produced in profusion. The grey-green thick leaves are also very attractive.

All of our plants have come from a single flask purchased from Equatorial Plants in 2001 and we regularly have small divisions for sale. The plants grow well in pots, baskets and mounted. We find that the mounted plants are very floriferous but suffer a little more with black spotting on the leaves from heat stress.

The flowers are short lived but produce a dramatic display with the small plants smothered in flowers.


Pleurothallis megalops – 365 days of orchids – day 1372

This extraordinary miniature species (closely related to this week’s barbosellas) has the moist extraordinarily large flowers. This is the first time we have featured it on 365 days of orchids and a real treat to examine it closely.

The plant is about 3cm high and produces masses of spikes carrying 2.5cm flowers each with an enormous (relatively) hairy lip. The flowers are produced in succession along the spikes and we have begun several months of being treated to these weird flowers.

Pleurothallis megalops is endemic to Ecuador where it is found at around 1600m in cool forests, so plants are very at home in our Cool Americas section where they grow in small baskets with great drainage but frequent watering. The flower spikes are really long (up to 15cm) and thin so they tend to become pendulous under the weight of the large flowers. The lip is reminiscent of our own native bee orchid and so perhaps the species has the same pseudo-copulation pollination strategy – keep an eye out in Ecuador for a big black hairy insect that looks like a Pleurothallis megalops lip!



Barbosella dusenii – 365 days of orchids – day 1371

Yesterday’s Barbosella australis was a miniature but this species takes tiny to a new level.

Barbosella dusenii is our orchid with the smallest leaves. The leaves are a few mm long and produced on a creeping rhizome with relatively gigantic flowers produced a couple of times every year.

We grow the species mounted which it clearly enjoys and avoids the threat of the plant becoming smothered in moss.

The species is native to Brazillian coastal cloud forests at around 1000m. We replicate these conditions in Cool Americas by hanging plants low down in the greenhouse and spraying daily with a minimum of 12C.


Barbosella australis – 365 days of orchids – day 1370


This week looks like being Barbosella week. First we have our most vigorous species, Barbosella australis. This species is a real miniature with 5mm leaves along a creeping rhizome and relatively large flowers single produced in profusion. Barbosella australis is native to Southern Brazil (australis means ‘southern’ and doesn’t refer to Australia – the southern land) and we have seen related species in Brazil at around 1200m in primary forest where a colony can clothe the lower branches of a tree. The species produces a profusion of flowers from both new and older leaves.

This species propagates relatively easily and so we have lots of these stunning plants flowering this week – look out for some of them on the shop later today.

We find that the only way we can grow this species well is mounted on bark where it can grow where it wants and eventually surround the cork mount as our plant has here. We spray our plants once a day. In pots plants become overwhelmed by moss.