Angraecum sesquipedale – 365 days of orchids – day 1123

We have a real stunner today, Angraecum sequipedale from Madagascar.

The large star like flower opens slightly greenish and this will fade to a glowing creamy white in the next day or two.

This species is commonly known as Darwin’s comet orchid reflecting the well known story of Darwin predicting that there must be a moth on Magagascar (where the species is found) with a proboscis over a foot long so that it can reach the nectar at the end of the long spur (ours is now 36cm). The moth was subsequently found and is a hawk moth (Xanthopan morganii preadicta). There is a great video of it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUiZDhs0JrA

 The spur is certainly extraordinary…as is the scent at night with the very heady (if rather chemically) fragrance which is worth visiting the greenhouse at night for.

The species is endemic to Madagascar where it grows in warm wet rainforest near sea level on the North East of the Island. We grow the species in Warm Asia and find it does well in pots or in baskets and appreciates a little more in the way of plant food than some of our orchids.

Our plant has been taken to Bristol today for filming at the Aardman studios and so it will hopefully be a film star soon.


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  1. agnes Jones says:

    Of all the exotic orchids I think this one is my favourite. It is just the orchid to have for those long, dark, winter evenings with its seductive scent and iridescent flowers. A truly beautiful orchid!