Today it is time for one of our monster orchids. This plant of Coelogyne stricta has been growing at Writhlington since 1995 when it arrived as a single bulb and the plant is now 2m across. Each year it produces long upright spikes of around 15 fragrent white flowers with lovely yellow and orange lip markings. When it was a relative pup (three years ago it won a cultural commendation form the RHS at the London International Orchid Show and gained the clonal name Jacob Coles in recognition of his efforts to keep our plants perfect for the show while all the older students were in Sikkim.
The plant is looking as if it wants to return to the London Show on 28th March with its flowers in a state of perfection – our only problem is how to get it there in one piece now that it is wider than a Transit van.
The species is native to the Himalayas and we have seen some wonderful specimen plants flowering in the forests of Sikkim at around 2000m altitude in cool moist monsoon forest. One plant in particular had completely enveloped the trunk of a large tree – a real site.
The photo shows a close view of flowers on a plant near Tinkitam in Sikkim.