Summer in the Writhlington Orchid House is a great time to enjoy the miniature flowers of Stelis species, and yesterday I counted flowers and spikes on ten different species from this diverse genus. The most eye catching was Stelis polyantha. ‘Polyantha’ means many flowered and this species lives up to its name with spikes of 100 to 200 of the cute little flowers (thanks Ed for the closeup)
The exquisite spikes of tiny pinky brown flowers really need a magnifying glass or macro lens to be appreciated and really demonstrate the beauty of small flowered orchids.
Stelis polyantha is endemic to Ecuador where it is found in cloud forest at around 3000m. Plants flower profusely even from small plants, and on a specimen plant the number of spikes produces that give a pinky ‘cloud’ around the plant when in flower. We grow the species mounted, in small pots, and in baskets, in our Cool Americas section and keep plants well watered all year. We find the species straight forward to grow and trouble free.
We do have plants for sale in our online shop.