365 days of orchids – day 331 – Angraecum sesquipedale

Angraecum sesqipedale has finally opened its large star like flower. It is currently slightly greenish and this will fade to a glowing creamy white in the next day or two.

This species is commonly known as Darwin’s comet orchid reflecting the well known story of Darwin predicting that there must be a moth on Magagascar (where the species is found) with a proboscis over a foot long so that it can reach the nectar at the end of the long spur (ours is now 36cm). The moth was subsequently found and is a hawk moth (Xanthopan morganii preadicta). There is a great video of it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUiZDhs0JrA

 The spur is certainly extraordinary…as is the scent at night. Visitors to our evening event on Thursday were able to experience the heady (if rather chemically) fragrance and I am sure it will still be puping out the fragrance at Orchid Chirstmas on December 13th (6-9pm not booking required)

The species is endemic to Madagascar where it grows in warm wet rainforest near sea level on the North East of the Island.

We grow the species in Warm Asia and find it does well in pots or in baskets and appreciates a little more in the way of plant food than some of our orchids.


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  1. Tahir Kamran says:

    Was this orchid there in the glass houses at the time of British Orchid show in November this year ? Can you please upload a fresh picture how it looks now.