This terrific orchid is looking fantastic this week. Brassavola tuberculata always flowers for the Malvern International Orchid Show that would have been this coming weekend.
In 2018 it won Best Trade Sopecies at the show, an RHS Cultural award, and won RHS Orchid of the Year 2018.
This terete leaved relative of Cattleya is native to Brazil where it grows in warm open forest in good light. It is relatively slow growing and we find it does best mounted where its long lived roots can grip tightly to the bark. We find it dislikes pots or baskets presumably because the roots cannot tolerate prolonged wet periods. Saying this we find that mounted it enjoys being watered daily and when we have with held watering at flowering time the flowers have not opened fully – so mounted but well watered seems to be its preference in our greenhouse.
The species is a classic moth pollinated orchid with flowers that are fragrant at night and the right pale colours to stand out in the dark forest.
This arresting large flowered Bulbophyllum is native to Borneo, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines from warm lowland forest at 200m up to montane forest at 2000m and this wide distribution provides considerable variation in the species and plants that can cope with a range of temperatures.
The evergreen forests we have explored in its range do not have a long dry season and so we water throughout the year and grow plants in shade where they seem to enjoy growing in a basket with good drainage.
In common with many bulbophyllums the species is pollinated by flys and the flowers are pungent but don’t sell as disgusting as some species. The lip is delicately hinged and when the fly lands it is pressed against the column to pick up and deposit pollinia
This delightful little orchid is one we have been working on correctly identifying and we are now more confident that we have the name correct. We given the plant many years ago without a valid name, and we have been calling it Cleisostoma crassifolia as it has a lot in common with cleisostomas.
We find this is a reliable small growing member of the vanda family. Tspecies is native to warm forests in Myanmar and possibly Thailand with short thick leaves and relatively long spikes with flowers that open successively along the flower spike.
The long lasting flowers look like little birds in flight and are large for the size of the plant which is only 8cm across.
The thick leaves and the fat roots are a good indication that this species comes from a warm dryish forest and so we grow it mounted and hung high in Warm Asia where it thrives on a daily spray and good light.
This wonderful species from Central America is a large growing member of the cattleya family that produces long spikes of dramatic flowers. The flowers are butterfly pollinated with the pink section of the lip the perfect shape for a large butterfly to grab hold of.
We have seen this species growing in Costa Rica where we found it in tall remnant trees on cloudy ridges at around 1500m. The trees had Masdevallia rolfeana growing on their trunks and, not surprisingly, we find that the two species do well close to each other in our Cool Americas section but with Prosthechea prismatocarpa growing a little brighter and dryer as it grows higher in the Coata Rican trees.
We have two varieties of the species; the clone above is Prosthechea prismatocarpa ‘Writhglington’ which has larger ‘tall’ flowers, longer spikes and darker markings than the more usual variety below with slightly smaller, ‘wide’ flowers and a more spreading habit.
Here are the two flowers next to each other for comparison with “Writhlington’ on the right.
We have some young divisions of the Writhlington variety for sale on the shop.
In 2017 this wonderful plant won Best in Show at the RHS London Orchid show. I am delighted that we now have small plants available at the shop.
The species is native to the Himalayas and we have seen some wonderful specimen plants flowering in the forests of Sikkim at around 2000m altitude in cool moist monsoon forest. One plant in particular had completely enveloped the trunk of a large tree – a real site.
The photo shows a close view of flowers on a plant near Tinkitam in Sikkim.