365 days of orchids – day 473 – Vanda denisoniana

This is the second flowering of seedlings grown in our school laboratory from seed collected from cultivated plants in Luang Prabang, Laos, in 2006. We found plants growing in a back street in this wonderful city (a world heritage site) and were struck by the beauty of these subtle flowers (see photo in Luang Prabang below). The flowers are also fragrant in the evening.

The plants had ripe seed and a small quantity collected was sown back at school in 2007. The majority of the seedlings were returned to Laos when we visited our partners and set up their laboratory in Paksong in 2011 but a few were kept to grow a permanent seed source at Writhlington. Now that we have three seedlings in flower together we should produce good viable seed and seedlings will be available from 2020.

The species is found across South East Asia and Southern China where it grows in open forest from 450-1200m and the colour combined with evening scent suggests it is moth pollinated. There is a range of colour forms but our seedlings are all greens and creams. Our plants all grow in small baskets hanging in Warm Asia (although the thick roots are now hanging down a metre below the basket)


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