365 days of orchids – day 308 – Coelogyne swaniana


Coelogyne swaniana is one of the warm growing Coelogyne species. It is found in Malaysai, Borneo, Sumatra and the Philippines in evergreen forests at around 900m altitude where it grows in moss on shaded branches or steep banks.

As well as large attractive flowers on pendulous spikes it has broad glossy leaves and plump pseudobulbs making the plant attractive throughout the year.

It grows well for us in Warm Asia in shade and watered well throughout the year. We find with Coelogynes of this type that the flowers bruise easily on suffer from water damage and so it is a good idea to move the flowering plants onto a high shelf where the flowers can be enjoyed and treated carefully to extend blooming. More than once we have missed the flowers completely as they have become lost amongst other plants on a crowded bench.


365 days of orchids – day 307 – Oncidium ornithorhynchum


This species smells strongly of chocolate and so is very popular at school. When grown well it produces several spikes of long lasting flowers from each pseudobulb and so a great little display. It also flowers when quite a small seedling and so is a rewarding plant to grow from seed.

The species is native to Central America where it grows in humid forests up to 1500m altitude and though it seems not to be fussy about temperatures it does best for us in our Cool Americas Section. This plant is mounted on an old piece of Elder but it does well for us mounted or in pots.

There is considerable variation in flower colour from deep to very light pink and we rather like this deep pink clone and will be raising seed from it again this year.

This species has been used in breeding hybrids which also have the delicious chocolate scent.




365 days of orchids – day 306 – Masdevallia mendozae

This is a close relative of Masdevallia hirtzii (day 303) and is endemic to Ecuador. This species also has tubular orange flowers pollinated by humming birds and is a miniature species with 4cm leaves.

The flowers have a really unusual shape with their bent tubes and small openings and a well grown plant will flower for many months. The photo shows buds in various stages of development as well as the open flowers. I expect this plant to still be in flower next February.

This species seems quite tough for a miniature masdevallia and has much thicker leaves than Masdevallia hirtzii making this it much more tolerant of summer heat and dry periods. We find this species does best in a small mossy basket.



365 days of orchids – day 305 – Barbosella cogniauxiana

This is our third barbosella species and this is intermediate in size between B. australis and B.dusenii (days 230 and 245). We have several plants of this species that all come from a flask of seedlings from Equatorial Plants purchased in 2001 after our first visit to Brazil with the Rio Atlantic Forest Trust.

We were fortunate to see this species clothing the lower branches of tall trees in primary forest at around 1200m altitude (actually fallen branches from the tall trees because a tiny orchid is quite hard to spot in the tops of tall trees)

The species is slow to spread and the ball shown here has a diameter of 15cm but is still on the mount it was attached to in 2001 (sixteen years ago). Each November it produces a fantastic display as it flowers from older sections of growth as well as the last years growth.

The colour of the flowers is variable with some more yellow like this one and others more brown or green. The flowers are very similar to Barbosella australis (day 230) but this species always flowers later in the year and the growth habit is tighter and smaller. We have successfully split one large plant and so will have some of these for sale at next year’s shows.

We only grow this species mounted as we find it is out competed by moss when in pots. Another view of the plant is shown below.