Walking around the greenhouse yesterday evening I was delighted to see that Masdevallia discolor has opened its first flower. This species is really attractive – compact growing, lovely dark green leaves and spectacular flowers.
Our clone of this species is orangey-yellow but as the name implies (disolor means differently coloured) the species comes in a wide range of colours including pink and cream. A significant characterisitic is the red ‘lipstick’ stripe just under the lip.
Masdevallia discolor is endemic to Colombian cloud forests between 2400 and 2800m altitude. Leaves are 5cm long and the flowers are large in comparison. We find that flowers are produced sporadically throughout the year. In common with a number of masdevallias the dark orange colour on the flower is from dark hairs on the yellow sepals making the flowers well worth a close inspection with a magnifying glass.
We grow the species in a basket in a shaded spot and keep it well watered all year. Several of the cooler growing Masdevallias do a lot of their growing at this time of year when many warmer growing species are resting (or should that be sulking) until the arrival of longer days and more heat from the Sun.