Masdevallia lucernula – 365 days of orchids – day 1831
One Masdevallia species that can be relied upon to brighten up a grey winters day is Masdevallia lucernula.
Masdevallia lucernula is possibly the most dramatic of our small growing Masdevallia species.
Several Masdevallia species have very bright flowers but M. lucernula must be our brightest species with its scarlet tubular flowers positively glowing against its dark green leaves.
The name means little lantern which a great name to reference the shape and the colour of the flowers.
Masdevallia lucernula is found in very cool Peruvian cloud forests at around 2100m where it is pollinated by humming birds. We find the species challenging to grow well as it hates high temperatures and loses leaves every summer. It looks great at this time of year with fresh winter growth.
We grow the species in a small (10cm) baskets hanging among other cool growing orchids as shown here (Cymbidiums and Odontoglossums) and it is watered every day to ensure the combination of abundant water but perfect drainage.