365 days of orchids – day 170 – Masdevallia hystrix

Hi Ed here. This is my favourite orchid because although it smells quite bad it looks very interesting. I like the colouration when it is in flower and the smell reminds me of durian. The stink of the flower is there to attract flies that then pollinate the flower.

Masdevallia hystrix grows in Ecuador at around 2500m in cool evergreen forest. We have noticed that its leaves are easily damages by bright summer sunshine or high temperatures so cool and shady is where it likes to grow.

The flowers are large with a spam of 15cm from the tips of the tails. Lookout to for the prickly lip that gives the species its name. Hystrix is latin for porcupine!


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