Today we have a small growing species that reminds us of our time in the wonderful rainforests of Rwanda.
Polystachya is a common genus amongst African orchids and we have seen species in South African woodland as well as Rwanda. As its name suggests, Polystachya vulcanica comes from the volcanic mountains of Rwanda, Uganda and Zaire (it doesn’t come from Vulcan!)
It lives in high altitude mossy forest similar to that we found on the upper slopes of Mount Bigugu in Rwanda. This is the highest point in Nyungwe national park at 3000m and the orchid is found from 1600-3000m. This habitat is very similar to South American cloud forests and so we grow the species in Cool Americas where we keep it moist and shaded all year.
Like most Polystachyas the species holds its flowers upside down (non-resupinate) and this flower is photographed from below to show the lovely colour combination. Flower spikes are produced in profusion and each produces sequential individual flowers over a period of months during the summer. Each flower stems produce several flowers over the summer months.
Let me take this opportunity to wish our friends in Africa all the best during our shared times of challenge.