A key focus for the displays of orchids at the Bristol Aquarium is the relationship between orchids and their diverse pollinators. Epidendrum paniculatum is a great example of a butterfly pollinated orchid and we were fortunate to observe a glass wing butterfly pollinating the similar Epidendrum piliatum in Costa Rica on our last school expedition there (photo above). With 12 students on our trip to Sarawak this month we will be hoping to observe more pollinators in action.
Epidendrum paniculatum is a lovely species and as traditionally described was found throughout Central and South America in cool wet forest above 1000m but the complex (group of similar species) has been split into several species with the true Epidendrum paniculatum being endemic to Peru.
We grow the species in baskets and it flowers from small plants 15cm high with a few flowers and when taller produces many flowers on branched spikes.