Today’s prize orchid has to be this remarkable Pleurothallis laden with thousands of golden flowers.
We are massive fans of the diverse genus Pleurothallis and some of the species produce massive amounts of flower. This species is one we have yet to positively identify (i will add a close up of a single flower once students return after christmas) but thanks to Mark Wilson who suggests it is a Crocodeilanthe species. Crocodeilanthe has been a section within Pleurothallis that has been separated to a separate genus or included in Stelis. At the moment we are content to keep all our pleurothallis together and not divide the genus. The plant was donated to us with the name baeza which is a town in Ecuador and we therefore assume that the species is native to the cloud forests around Baeza.
This year the plant has really flourished in our Cool Asia section with lots of water and is growing larger (leaves to 50cm high) with more flower spikes per leaf – usually four – and flowers more spread on the spikes (last year’s flowering below)
We are now ready to divide the plant so that by next Christmas we will have lots of plants available.
Our final event of the year was the Christmas Concert where the Nose Flute Orchestra played to a very appreciative crowd, the plant team sold orchids and Ed sold more nose flutes to raise money for the Penan Village School. Our volunteers have been amazing this term, well done to all.
Dracula amaliae (day1093) is not the only dracula gracing Cool Americas this week as we also have the massed flowers of Dracula deltoidea.
Draculas are spectacular relatives of Masdevallia and a genus with many species produce a fantastic show of flowers. Dracula deltoidea that is flowering this week has smaller flowers than most of our other dracula species but makes up for this in the number of flowers a plant produces. As you can see the flowers are produced downwards around and through the basket so that the best possible view is from directly underneath (below).
The species is native to Ecuador and is found at elevations of 2600-3000metres so we keep it in Cool America. Like many druculas the leaves of this species get damaged if it gets too hot and you can see black marks on some of the leaves from the hot spell in May and June 2018. We try to grow it very cool, wet and shady hanging below other orchid baskets which increases both the shade and water the plant receives. Do check out our growing tips in more detail for all of our plants in our orchid culture tab, or for draculas, growing cool orchids from the Americas for more help on the culture of these fantastic plants.
As those who visited last saturday will have seen, ee have a diversity of Masdevallias flowering in the greenhouse. One of our most robust and reliable Masdevallias is this species from Ecuador. The large flowers are produced on short stems and are remarkable for the purple ‘hairs’ on the lip which give the species its name meaning the burred Masdevallia. We have had the plant for a long time and it is slow growing but this month it has produced a profusion of flowers.
The species is found at around 1200m altitude and with us flowers several times during the year. The flowers are long lasting and so this is a plant that often comes with us to shows. We grow it mounted in Cool Americas.
For those who missed Orchid Christmas we have another sales event on Thursday evening at the Carol Concert (6.30-7pm)
This attractive epidendrum species is found right through Central America and down through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Out of flower it looks very like a uni-foliate cattleya but soon shows it’s unique character when the flower spikes appear. Spikes produce up to six large flowers evolved to attract a moth pollinator although it offers no reward and in common with many orchids relies on deceit pollination. Some interesting research indicates that the species produces an variety of scents presumably to aid with deceit pollination.
The species is found high in trees in warm forest from 500-1000m altitude and we find that the plant succeeds well mounted or in baskets of course bark where it can dry out rapidly between watering. In pots we have found it prone to rot in the new growth from being kept to wet. It also enjoys bright light.