As regulars will know, we are very fond of orchids we have come across in their native habitat during our school expeditions, an we have lots of those species coming into flower this week.
Pleurothallis sclerophyla is a wonderful Brazilian species that produces masses of 2cm wide creamy yellow flowers. If you look closely at the flowers you see that they have three long thin sepals, all with slightly hairy edges, two tiny petals with red tips and a tiny yellow lip.
We have seen the species flowering in Brazil (photo below) where we found it growing abundantly on mountain ridges at around 1200m in cloud forest.
This photograph of the species near Macae de Cima shows a plant growing in the trunk of a tree in moist forest with a fair amount of moss on most trees and additional humidity coming from the large amount of bromeliads present in the habitat. The photo shows old spikes as well as new, and the habit of flowering for many years from the same leaf axil explains the dramatic flowering display give by mature plants like our plant flowering in the school greenhouse last year (below). We have since divided the plant so look out for sale plants when fully established later this summer.
Our Cool Americas gives a close match with the native habitat – cool (min 12C) , moist, and shaded.