We have lots of fragrant orchids in flower this week and our Warm Americas section is especially fragrant thanks to Prosthechea aemula.
Prosthechea aemula is a vigorous grower with 15cm pseudobulbs and 25cm long dark green leaves produced each summer and long lasting sprays of up to nine flowers from each pseudobulb in early spring. Plants soon form specimens with our largest plant (shown above) having twelve flower spikes this January.
This species is native to warm, wet forests over a wide range through Central and South America and we find it thrives in our Warm Americas section (min 15C) especially in baskets where plants can have heavy watering but excellent drainage.
It is a shame that we have so few students in school to enjoyb the smell. Last year Kate and Izzy (photo below) said the flowers smelled of Play-doh – I have checked and Hasbro (who make Play-Doh) formally describe [the trademarked scent] as a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough,”. Or they could say it smells of Prosthechea aemula!!!