Epidendrum stamfordianum – 365 days of orchids – day 1551

Epidendrum stamfordianum reminds me of our wonderful school expedition to Belize where we found this dramatic and large growing species flowering profusely in warm forests near the Caribbean coast in the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area.

We found Epidendrum stamfordianum growing as a very large epiphyte in mature secondary forests. In the photograph below you can see around ten long arching sprays of yellow flowers.

Close ups of the Belize flowers show them to be very similar in colouring to our school plant. With wonderful spotting and deep pink highlights around the column.

Epidendrum stamfordianum is an unusual member of the genus in producing flower spikes from the base of the leading pseudobulbs. This presents the flowers underneath the leaves which makes sense when you see plants in the wild with flowers easily accessible to the large butterflies that pollinate the species. The range of the species runs from Mexixo in the North to Venezuela in the South and it is generally found in seasonally dry forests characteristic of the lowland forests of Belize that we explored on our visit. This habitat is a harsh environment for seedling establishment and populations are dominated by very long lived large specimen plants. In cultivation the plant is straight forward but enjoys a bright location in the roof of our Warm Americas section.


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