Gastrochilus calceolus – 365 days of orchids – day 1527

The wonderful spring weather is continuing with warm sunny days and frosty nights – Plants in the school greenhouse are bursting into a new seasons growth but are needing lots of watering with a drying sun in the day and drying heating at night.

Today’s orchid of the day is our second Gastrochilus species of recent times following Gastrochilus sororius in December (below)

Today’s Gastrochilus calceolus is similar but G. sororius has much more fleshy leaves and G. claceolus has longer, sparser, flower spikes. The attractive flowers of both species are rather similar and always make me smile – a good comedy orchid genus, especially as the name refers to the belly like lip.

Gastrochilus calceolus is the type species for the genus and we have seen the species flowering in Sikkim at Tinkitam where is grows amongst Cymbidium devonianum and Coelogyne cristata as an epiphyte in large mossy trees at 2000m. It is actually found across a really wide range from the Himalayas through South East Asia, the Philippines and Borneo, and from 230m in warm forests to 2300m and cool forest. We grow our plant in our warm Asia section where it seems very happy in shade and watered all year, but in a 10cm basket as it seems to resent getting soggy. In fact it is now growing better than ever since the basket was knocked by a student and all the compost fell out!


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