365 days of orchids – day 710 – Trisetella cordeliae

We have another of our mini-miniature trisetellas today. Trisitella cordeliae which is really small both in terms of its leaves – just 10mm long and short spikes with small (but relatively large) attractive hairy pink flowers. The flower spikes produce a succession of flowers over a long period.

The species is endemic to Peruvian cloud forests and we treat it the same as other Trisetella – cool, damp and shaded.


How to look after your seedlings

Here are some instructions for those who have purchased orchids in-vitro from us in Bristol.If you have been helped to work in our lab and re-plate your seedlings, they will need about five-six months of growing indoors, away from bright sun (maybe on a book shelf) before de-flasking. If you have seedlings from the sales table then they are ready to de-flask as shown below.

1. Get you seedlings out of the flask.

Usually the seedlings will ease out as one mass. A finger/ spoon or plant label may help. If they don’t want to come out some tepid water will soften the agar and make it easier.





2. Rinse off the agar – We rinse gently in lukewarm water with a little washing up liquid in it. Try hard not to damage the seedlings. It doesn’t matter if some of the agar is left behind







 3.Plant your seedlings in a community pot – We plant all the seedlings from a flask in one to three community pots. Ease compost around the seedlings. We use a similar compost for community pots as for adult plants comprising course bark sphagnum moss and perlite. (this makes them easier to care for as we are used to this compost).





4.Move plants into individual pots – We move seedlings from the community pot to individual pots (or mounts) between 6 months and 2 years after de-flasking when they are growing well and have decent roots.


365 days of orchids – day 709 – Masdevallia tonduzii


Followers of 365 days of Orchids will have noticed that we are big fans of orchids belonging to the pleurothalidinae – orchids from the tropical americas such as plants from the genera masdevallia, pleurothallis, restrepia and trisitella – many of which have small but fascinating flowers. This species could not be accused of having small flowers.

Masdevallia tonduzii is a small growing Masdevallia with very large flowers . The plant shown here is in a 3cm pot and so the leaves are 5cm long and the flowers 12cm across including the tails. The species is native to Costa Rica and Panama where it grows in forests from 400-1400m altitude making this a bit warmer growing than most of our cloud forest Masdevallia species.

The inside of the flower is hairy adding further to the the brilliance of this little species .

The species is named after Adolphe Tonduz a Swiss naturalist who was invited to Costa Rica as part of a drive for education and science in the country in the 1880s. He contributed greatly to knowledge of the amazing plant diversity of Costa Rica between 1889 and 1920 but sadly died an alcoholic aged 59. If you would like to know more about his life and work there is a great article about him.

We grow the species in Cool Americas during the summer but move it to the warmer and dryer ‘classroom’ section for the winter as the species comes from a lower altitude than most of our masdevallias. (The classroom section is also full of plants of course). We have this photo of the plant 12 months ago which shows that it is growing well with 5 leaves compared to last years 3.

This little orchid will also remind us of the importance of moderation with mulled wine at Orchid Christmas. (12th December 6-9pm if you had forgotten)