Barkeria spectabilis – Orchid of the year 2010

So after all the excitement of the vote Barkeria spectabilis came out a clear winner. The plant shown here is loving life in the new greenhouses where it lives in ‘Warm America’, the section devoted to species from south and central america and live at lower altitudes.

Barkeria spectabilis is found in the wild in Mexico, Guatemala and El  Salvador in dryish oak forest from 1200m to about 2000m. We grow it with a minimum temperature of 18 degree C mounted on a cork slab. The natural habitat indicates it could be grown cool (down to about 12 degrees) but our plants seem to apreciate the heat. It fowers in the late spring and has a lot of flower for the diminutive plant size. The good news is that this plant now has a ripe seed pod hanging from the flower photographed and so expect lots of these plants for sale two years from now.

Commiserations to the orchids that didn’t quite make it, especially Dendrobium densiflorum that came so close. This lovely species from Sikkim will always be one of our favourites but the Barkeria possibly did a better job at posing for its photo. The photograph was taken on an Olympus Digital SLR with spot metering and a short depth of field to bring out the delicate pale colouring of the flower and to blur and darken the background.

Barkeria spectabilis Writhlington Orchid of the Year 2010


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