Another orchid to greet us on out return from Bristol University Botanic Garden was our Aerangis verdickii. Aerangis verdickii is one of our favourite African orchid species and as more African countries are added to the Travel red list we are again concerned that returning to Rwanda to work with our wonderful partners at FAWE School may be a little while off.
Aerangis verdickii is found right across central and east Africa where it grows in woodland and copes with seasonal dry periods by storing water in its thick roots which form an extensive root system over time. It has grey green, waxy leaves also evolved to reduce water loss. In common with other Aerangis species, Aerangis verdickii is moth pollinated and has a long spur with nectar just in the tip. In verdickii the spurs are 16cm long and gently curved.
We have seen the species in Rwanda showing how it copes with a dry climate (see photo below) on a tree in the capital Kigali.
We have seedlings of this species in out laboratory and fresh seed pods on the plant for sharing with our partners in Rwanda for their school experiments. We are really hoping that we will be together again next year.
We grow the species in Warm Asia hanging in the roof where it receives good light, high temperatures and dries quickly after watering.