This tiny member of the Vanda family is just 2cm across and is one of our smallest orchid species.
Schoenorchis fragrans comes from the Eastern Himalayas where it grows in warm lowland forest which we know well from visits to Sikkim and Assam. The forest here is semi-deciduous and relatively dry with no moss on the trees and so we grow the species mounted and hung high in the roof of Warm Asia where it can really dry out between waterings.
The flowers are long lasting and, not surprisingly, fragrant
This phalaenopsis species produces relatively small flowers but they an astonishingly bright glossy pink.
This warm growing epiphytic species native to the Philippines, is a small plant which produces a few brightly coloured flowers successively on a short spike hat gives flowers through the summer and the autumn. The species also has the ability to produce longer spikes up to 60cm long and instead of bearing flowers they produces multiple keikis, which, in the wild, are used to produce a colony of plants on the host tree. For us the keikis give straight forward propagation material but we always wait until keikis have plenty of roots.
The natural habitat is hot and shaded and we keep plants in our warm asia section (min 17C) although the species would appreciate a warmer minimum temperature.
Earlier in the summer we featured the more usual white form of this small growing species but this week we have the treat of this form of the species with pink stems and spurs.
This is a cool growing orchid from Japan with very fragrant flowers and we grow our plants in Cool Asia in baskets where we keep them wet in the summer and damp in the winter. For us the species flowers from July right through to September.
This species has been grown in Japan for a very long time. Vanda falcata is locally called Fūki-ran or ‘orchid of the rich and noble people’ because in Japan 400 years ago, only the rich and noble could afford to own the orchid. They were so prized that they would be covered with a gold or silver net to protect them and to admire the plant, people had to cover their mouths so they would not breathe on it.
The long spur holds the nectar and the flowers are pollinated by moths. With the flowers so fragrant we encourage students not only to breath on the plants but to have a good old sniff.
This magnificent plant is a division of a plant donated to the project 18 years ago and it is a shame that it is at its peak when there are no events where we can share it with the public. Our next event is the Bee and Pollination Festival on 31st August and 1st September at the Bristol University Botanic Garden. Hopefully Coelogyne fragrans will still be in flower.
Coelogyne fragrans is native to Papua New Guinea where it is reported in montane forests from 100 to 2000m which suggests it can thrive in a wide range of temperatures.
We find that plants do best in our Cool Asia section (min 10C) where plants flower profusely from the developing new growths in the summer. We have tried growing plants warmer but plants grow smaller thinner bulbs and have less flowers per stem.
Some related species are sequential with their flowering while this species produces 2-4 large flowers per spike with all the flowers opening together and giving a great display. We find that plants enjoy really heavy watering as the growths develop over the summer.
We have more than twenty stelis species in our collection and this is one of the smaller ones with 3cm leaves and upright flower spikes with relatively large flowers (for a stelis).
Our recent expedition to Sarawak was the 22nd school orchid tropical expedition with five visits to Sikkim, five to Rwanda, three to Laos, two to Brazil, two to South Africa, two to Costa Rica, and one each to Guatemala and Belize.
Stelis itatiayae reminds us of our first expedition to Brazil in 2000 when we made first contact with stelis species and this is one of the species found in the Mata Atlantica around our base in Macae de Cima.
The species is found in wet forest from 900-1400m in the low trunk area so enjoys good humidity and we find it loves a 3cm mossy pot grown close to yesterday’s Dracula sodiroi.
Our next expedition will be back to Sarawak in October with a much larger group and funding from the British Council. We are also looking forward to the World Orchid Congress in March 2020 – you will hear all about both trips here on our website. If there is anything you would like to know about our project please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer.