Ludisia discolor – 365 days of orchids – day 735

Happy New Year. 365 Days of Orchids enters its third year with an Orchid Species that is the most readily available jewel orchid. Jewel orchids include a large number of terrestrial orchids prized for their patterned leaves although several, like this species, have attractive flower too.

Ludisia discolor is native to evergreen lowland forests across South East Asia and is reported from 70-1100m in shaded damp situations in leaf litter. As a result plants prefer warm shaded conditions and plenty of water. We have seen advice to grow plants in potting compost but we use our standard bark mix with a little sphagnum moss.

Several jewel orchids are threatened by unsustainable collection for horticulture so sources should be checked carefully but Ludisia discolor is very easy from seed in the lab and plants in cultivation in the uk are seed raised.



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  1. Agnes Jones says:

    When I first saw these orchids in the greenhouse I didn’t think they looked like orchids at all because of their unusual stripy leaves and I expected their flowers to be red or orange. When I saw the photograph I was really surprised to see ghostly white flowers.

    Yesterday I saw the flowers in real life in the greenhouse. It was getting dark and the white flowers shone out in the gloom and contrasted beautifully with the dark leaves. I now think the orchids to be extremely attractive and wonder why anyone would give them such an unattractive name as discolor!