This is an orchid we fell in love with on our first expedition to Brazil in 2000 when we found it growing abundantly on mountain ridges at around 1200-1400m in cloud forest.
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.
Here is the plant in the wild growing at shoulder height on a small tree in mossy forest on a ridge at 1400m.
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 two years ago (below).
Our Cool Americas gives a close match with the native habitat – cool (min 12C) , moist, and shaded.