Cleisocentrum merrillium – 365 days of orchids – day 1687

It is a joy to see this unusually coloured orchid in flower again. One real advantage of posting our orchids in flower every day is that we can look back and understand flowering patterns. I can now confidently report that this species flowers twice a year in spring and again in autumn. This is not a big surprise as the species grows on the equator and so has a climate with two short dryer periods and the flowering of this species corresponds to the two peaks in rainfall.

One of our passions is the special relationship between orchid species and their pollinators, and today’s orchid of the day is one of our favourite ant pollinated orchids.

This remarkable orchid is endemic to Mount Kinabalu where it grows in wet evergreen forest above 1000m. The species has striking greyish, blue flowers with a purple anther cap and field observations show that the flowers are ant pollinated which explains the clustered flowers on very short spikes.

We grow the species in small baskets from which the plants grow in a relaxed upright fashion. Plants seem very at home in our Warm Asia section with a minimum of 17C with some shade, throughout the year, amongst other species native to the amazing forests of Borneo.


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