Last night I came across a ghost in the greenhouse – high in the roof the etherial first flowering of this wonderful alba seedling of Cattleya perrinii.
We featured our normally coloured clone of this beautiful Brazilian orchid last month (see flowering plant below)
This lovely orchid is native to the Mata Atlantica coastal forests of eastern Brazil. It is found at around 800m, in habitat we have visited, where it grows as a lithophyte or epiphyte in seasonally dry forest that experiences wet warm summers and cooler dryer winters.
The flowers are best looked at from above (photos above) as the plant is clearly attracting pollinators that fly over the flowers. The alba flowers are smaller than the very large flowered pink clone but we can expect the flowers to get bigger in subsequent years.
The natural habitat suggests that plants need intermediate temperatures (min 14C) but we find that plants do well both in Warm Americas (minimum 16C) and Cool Americas (minimum 12C). New growths produce few thick roots and we find that these do best in baskets where there is excellent drainage but we can water heavily in summer. The secret to maintain good flowering is looking after these thick roots and in course bark and a well drained basket they live for several years especially if we take care to remove any ferns that appear.
It is sad to report that this plant has become very scarce in its natural habitat mostly as a result of habitat loss, and today is a good time send Christmas wishes to our amazing conservation friends in Brazil who are doing all that they can to protect their wonderful diversity.