Stelis thermophila – 365 days of orchids – day 1979
Our star orchid this week is our specimen plant of Stelis thermophyla.
This stunning stelis is a small growing floriferous species from Brazil. Every summer plants are smothered in delicate pinky brown flowers in charming upright spikes.
Stelis thermophila is native to coastal forests in Brazil where it grows in warm wet forests at lower altitudes than most of our Stelis species that are cool cloud forest specialists (hence the name thermophyla meaning warm growing). Despite this we find the species is very happy in our Cool America section where we grow it mounted and in pots alongside similar species, but confident that it will not mind warm days in the greenhouse. We have had the species since the 1990s and find it trouble free and reliable.
In our expeditions to Brazil we have been captivated by the stelis species we have seen flowering in the wild. They are a wonderful example of small plants with tiny flowers putting on a great display and Stelis have become a key component of the Writhlington collection over time.