Lockhartia lunifera – 365 days of orchids – day 903

This unusual species is full of flower again.


The species is native to South and Central America and it grows long stems of overlapping short pointed leaves similar to a group of unrelated Dendrobiums for Asia.

The clusters of long lasting flowers emerge from between the leaves and several year’s stems flower together.

We have seen this species growing in wet evergreen forest along rivers in Costa Rica at 1400m altitude but it can be found up to 2600m from Mexico in the north to Colombia in the South.

We grow this species mounted and in pots but mounted plants present best as the stems develop a pendulous habit over time.


Schoenorchis gemmata – 365 days of orchids – day 902

This is a small flowered species from the Himalayas and South East Asia which has a branching habit that eventually produces a profusion of flowers. The flowers are really sweet up close (thanks Ed for today’s macro shot)

Our larger plant shown here is reaching the point where it is flower most of the time and adds real interest to Warm Asia – especially if you are carrying a magnifying glass.

We have seen the species in Sikkim at around 1000m altitude but it is reported from 450m to 2500m. We found it growing in evergreen forest where it receives some moisture during the dry season and lots of rainfall during the monsoon summers.

We find that with us the species does best in a shady spot in Warm Asia in a basket suspended horizontally so that the plant can adopt its natural pendulous habit. We have also seen excellent plants mounted.


Angraecum elephantinum – 365 days of orchids – day 901

Last night I was in the greenhouse late at night and the air was filled with the scent of this little Madagascan orchid.

The name elephantinum means gigantic angraecum but it is actually one of our smallest Angraecum species.

This plant is flowering for the third time seven years out of flask and is just 6cm high and 8cm across. Of course it is the flower that is gigantic compared to the plant and it pretty much hides the whole plant. This year for the first time it has two flowers with the second bud close to opening behind the first flower.

The species comes from the mountains of Madagascar and the plant can be grown quite cool – we are growing it here at a minimum of 10C. In common with many Madagascan angraecums it has a very long spur with nectar in the end and so is pollinated by very long tongued hawk moths. The large lip is there to guide the tongue to the opening of the spur at the top of the lip. Moth pollination also explains the night scent of the species. To me the scent of this species is a mixture of Deep Heat and almonds.

This plant was one of the BOC babies given away in vitro at our last British Orchid Congress in October 2012 – this was one of the left over small ones – but well worth growing on. We mounted it on cork straight from the flask and it grows wet and bright so sprayed daily and near the top of a cool greenhouse.


Masdevallia rolfeana – 365 days of orchids – day 900

For day 900 we have a very special masdevallia. This is Masdevallia rolfeana and a clone that has been in our collection since 1995. This mounted plant is growing beautifully hung on a metal tower in Cool Americas and burst into flower yesterday.

This floriferous masdevallis is native to Central America and we have seen it in Costa Rica growing on the trunks and lower branches of trees in dense forest at 1200m on the slopes of the Poas Volcano (see photo below)

The photo shows the mossy trunk that was covered in Masdevallias. The temperatures here go down to a minimum of around 12C with no distinct dry season. We grow the species both mounted, like the plant at the top which won Best Masdevallia at the Malvern Show in 2018, in baskets and in pots. We spray plants daily.

We are sometimes asked about black spots that appear on Masdevallia leaves and it is interesting to note that wild plants have these spots on older leaves too. One of the reasons for black spots in our greenhouse is excessively high temperatures causing heat stress in the leaves so don’t forget to shade plants and keep them well watered when the weather gets in the summer.


Cuitlauzina pendula – 365 days of orchids – day 889

The first of our Cuitlauzina pendula clones has just opened. This clone has pink flowers and the typical very pendulous habit.

This species which used to be known as Odontoglossum citrosmum is native to cool oak pine forests in Mexico from 1400 to 2200m where is experiences warm wet summers and cool dry winters.

We find that plants do best in baskets that allow for their pendulous flower spikes and hanging plants in the roof of our Cool Americas section during their dry winter rest.

The flowers emerge from the new growths in the early summer and from flowering onwards we feed and water heavily until the new bulb is mature.

Here is the other clone with much lighter flowers.