Himalayan wonders of the orchid kind – Part 1

Having just returned from a two week trip to the Sikkim Himalaya I can’t help but notice the wonderful Himalayan orchids flowering in the Writhlington Orchid Project greenhouses. I feel that one of the best things about growing exotic plants in a greenhouse is the way it transports you to the world’s most exciting habitats.

Dendrobium aphyllum in Sikkim

Take Dendrobium aphyllum. This stunning orchid is found in hot tropical forest in the deep valleys of the Himalayan range. It grows on semi deciduous trees exposed to the sun in the dry monsoon winters. The plant copes by losing it’s leaves and flowering from bare canes in April and May. This photograph was taken in Southern Sikkim at an altitude of 400m above sea level.

Dendrobium aphyllum is an accomodating plant in cultivation and we find it grows and flowers reliably at Writhlington with a minimum temperature of around 15 degrees C, a wet summer and a dryer winter. The plant photographed below opened its flowers in late April, a sight that instantly transported me to the mountains of its native habitat, a real Himalayan wonder.

Dendrobium aphyllum at Writhlington


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