Guarianthe skinneri var. alba oculata – 365 days of orchids – day 1560

For Easter Sunday we have The Easter Orchid – Guarianthe skinneri (previously Cattleya skinneri)

Guarianthe skinneri is national flower of Costa Rica and a species we have seen growing in tall trees in open forests around 800m with plants on the tops of thick branches in very exposed positions in strong sunshine. It is a very regular late April flowering species (hence the name Easter Orchid) and it always reminds me of our fantastic visits to Costa Rica in 2003 and 2007.

We have two fantastic clones flowering in the Greenhouse. The first is var. oculata alba – this is the one with white flowers apart from the purple circle in the lip and a little yellow on the lip too. The second is often called var albescens and is almost pure white except for the faintest pink blush to the end of the lip and yellow in the centre of the lip – that will be flowering in another week or so.

In Costa Rica the species is known as guaria morada and when DNA evidence suggested that it should be moved from the genus Cattleya a new genus was created that reflected the Costa Rican name. (This was thanks to US botanist Bob Dressler who I have had the pleasure or working with in Costa Rica).

Anyway, the species is is fantastic which ever name especially in these lovely almost white clones (the usual colour is predominantly pink).

We replicate natural conditions by growing plants in baskets hung high in Warm Americas where they get lots of light and dry out between waterings although plants enjoy lots of water when in growth in the summer months but much dryer winters.


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  1. Ric Reilly says:

    Happy Easter Simon, staff and pupils.