Yesterday’s orchid was a tiny flowered stelis species and a complete contrast we have our giant Vanda coerulea today in full flower with seven spikes and more than 10ft from top to toe (top bud to lowest root tip)
This wonderful species from North East India through to Thailand is one of the ones that stops visitors in their tracks with its large blue/purple flowers and intricate patterning, especially if it is the size of our specimen.
Unfortunately the attractiveness of the species has caused it to become very rare in the wild and it is designated as CITES appendix 1 to help protect surviving populations. It is widely grown from seed although nurseries tend to focus on large round flowered clones (like ours) for propagation rather than embracing the natural diversity within the species.
This makes this plant an ideal species to take to the Conference on the illegal trade in wildlife on Wednesday (see our recent post)
The plant is native to deciduous monsoon forest from 800 to 1700m which means it prefers cooler temperatures than most large growing lowland Vandas although selective breeding has tended to focus on plants that tolerate warmer conditions to suit commercial orchid production. We grow our plants in Warm Asia where they do very well and eventually produce side growths that produce flowers at the same time as the lead growth.