Our greenhouse is full of a strong spicy scent as our aptly names Lycaste aromatica has burst into flower. Twenty flowers are out already and there are another fifteen buds to open tomorrow – what a gorgeous sight.
This free flowering species is native to Mexico and Central America where it grows as an epiphyte of lithophyte in semi-deciduous forest. It uses its powerful scent to attract euglossine bees (perfume gathering bees) and in common with many plants adopting this strategy has fairly short lived flowers (a couple of weeks).
The native habitat experiences a marked dry season and so the species drops all its leaves in November and remains leafless until April or May. We reduce watering to almost none while there are no leaves but in the summer once growth is underway we water heavily to support the rapidly growing lush leaves.
It suits our temperatures in Warm Americas with a winter minimum of 15C