Sobralia crocea – 365 days of orchids – day 1684

When ever we give greenhouse tours we enjoy showing the relationships between orchids and their pollinators. Sobralia crocea is a wonderful example of an orchid evolved for humming bird pollination whereas many sobralia species have very large flowers like our Sobralia macrantha (below) that are evolved for bee pollination.

In Sobralia crocea the sepals and petals form a narrow tube by opening just a little for the humming birds beak and long tongue, and of course it is a startling orange colour.

The species is found from Peru to Venezuela as a terrestrial (or rarely an epiphyte) from 1700-2700m in wet forest. We grow the species in Warm Americas in a basket but water it well all year.

The flowers only last a few days but like other sobralias they are produces successively on the top of stems over several weeks. The species is also our smallest sobralia with stems only 50cm tall. An unusual and rewarding species especially with the dark green leaves that contrast so well with the orange flowers.


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