This is a grand species and one of a number of orchids that combine brown and pink in their flowers. The graceful branched spikes of long lasting flowers make Encyclia polardiana one of our favourite summer orchids.
This is a strong growing species, endemic to Mexico, found in open forests between 1000m and 1400m altitude. The species description gives the spike length as 30-60cm but our plant usually manages at least 1m and this year the two branched spikes are over 1m tall with a total of 200 flowers, each 3cm across.
The plant grows in a basket and seems to thrive in good light with heavy watering when in growth from now until November.
This plant was purchased in 1995, as a seedling growing on a tiny slab of cork. The trader (who is no longer in business) described the species as a miniature! Always do your research! not that we mind.