Our Year 7 team, Erin, Ruby Daria, Mylee, Kaitlyn, Thomas and Koby, are getting the greenhouse ready for Orchid Christmas (10th December 4pm-7pm all welcome) and are delighted that our monster Brassia verrucosa plant is now in bloom. This year we have 14 spikes of these dramatic flowers and the plant rather dwarfs the team.
The common name for Brassia verrucosa is the ‘spider orchid’ in reference to the large spidery flowers, and research suggests that the flowers are spider mimics and are pollinated by a spider hunting wasp that attacks the flowers. Isn’t evolution spectacular? Not all the Year 7 team are disappointed that we don’t have the giant spider eating wasps in our school greenhouses to go with our plant.
The plant is native to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as Venezuela and grows as an epiphyte in seasonally wet forest from 900 to 2400m. For us the species does best in Warm Americas where it is hung up for good light but is kept really wet during the summer growing season to build up the massive pseudobulbs that deliver the long arching sprays of flowers.