WSBEorchids

Dracula sodiroi – 365 days of orchids – day 956

A new species for 365 days is this remarkable Dracula species native to Ecuador. Dracula sodiroi has unique flowers that hang like little orange lanterns and are produced in twos or threes, well spaced, on spikes clear of the lush green leaves. The insides of the flowers are covered with white hairs. Flowers are about 2cm across and 4cm from the top to the tip of the tails.

The species is native to cool wet forests from 1500-2400m altitude and, in common with other dracula species, is sensitive to high temperatures if not kept very wet in summer. The moss around the base of the plant shows that we keep plants very wet all year, growing under the shade of other orchids in our cool americas section.

The flowers are long lasting and once a plant is happy it will produce flowers on and off throughout the year making it a very rewarding species to grow.

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Odontoglossum rhynchanthum – 365 days of orchids – day 955

This beautiful species is endemic to Colombia where it grows in cloud forest above 2000m. Authorities describe the species as producing 30cm spikes with up to seven flowers but our clone produces graceful arching spikes to 70cm with up to twelve flowers. Leading bulbs produce a number of spikes and give a fantastic display of the large and colourful flowers.

We have divided our older plants and now have several young plants in baskets like the one shown. We find that baskets are ideal for odontoglossum species as long as they can be kept damp with watering most days.

We grow our plants cool (minimum 12C) and damp all year.

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Encyclia pollardiana – 365 days of orchids – day 954

There are a number of orchids that combine brown and pink in their flowers and one of our favourites is this Mexican species.

This is a strong growing species found in open forests between 1000m and 1400m altitude. The species description gives the spike length as 30-60cm but our plant usually manages at least 1m and this year the branched spike is 140cm tall with around 180 flowers each 3cm across.

The plant grows in a basket and seems to thrive in good light with heavy watering when in growth from now until November.

This plant was purchased in 1995, as a seedling growing on a tiny slab of cork. The trader (who is no longer in business) described the species as a miniature! Always do your research! not that we mind.

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Bulbophyllum carunculatum – 365 days of orchids – day 953

This large flowered bulbophyllum species is a real star of the Warm Asia section and will be in flower now fro several months.

This epiphytic Bulbophyllum is endemic to the island of Sulawesi, part of the Indonesian islands. It produces a number of sequential flowers throughout the summer on a long upright flower spike. The flowers are typically yellow with an almost black lip, this colour form seems to be relatively uncommon with its orange petals and veining. The flowers carry an unpleasant fragrance which is used to attract the fly pollinator for the species but we all enjoy an unusual fragrance.

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Angraecum distichum – 365 days of orchids – day 952

We have a number of miniatures flowering and one of the most unusual is this miniature Angraecum with 5mm flowers and little stems less than a centimetre across.

This is one of the species we have seen in Rwanda growing in wet forest at 1500m. The species has a wide distribution right across tropical Africa and is found growing in shade in rainforests.

We find that the species does best mounted in shade in our Warm Asia section where it flowers every summer with its small long lasting and fragrant flowers.

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