365 days of orchids – day 630 – Renanthera imschootiana


This extraordinary red flowered orchid is one of our our favourite specimens and as I mentioned a few weeks ago has decided to flower a second time for us this year following its usual flowering in June.

The plant is growing in a 12 cm basket but hands high in the roof of Warm Asia and straight upright stem is now nearly 1.6m tall with the grand branching flower spike adding a further 80cm on top in all directions – not the easiest plant to handle and just the top is shown in the photographs.

As I have mentioned before this amazing red relative of Vanda is unfortunately one of the orchid species threatened by the trade in unsustainable wild collection. It is native to the Eastern Himalayas where it grows in warm evergreen forest along rivers from 500 to 1000m. Fortunately like most tropical epiphytic orchids it is easy to grow from seed and our plant will be pollinated to help make the species common in cultivation and so reduce the pressure for wild collection.

The flowers have been opening over the past 3 weeks and we expect at least another month of its glorious scarlet – it would be very fitting if it was still in flower for Bonfire night as it is the nearest orchids get to a firework!


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