365 days of orchids – day 237 – Penillabium struthio

This is a miniature species native to South East Asia and Malaysia that is recorded in hot lowland forest near rivers. It has soft leaves suggesting it prefers shaded conditions the flowers is produced successively on short pendulous spikes. We grow the plant mounted on cork where its flowers can be seen but they are very short lived so it is worth having a good look when a flower opens. Saying that, our young plant has spikes that continue to produce flowers for several months and I would guess that a mature plant would always have active spikes producing flowers.

The flowers are large for the size of the plant (2cm across) and they do have a remarkable lip with a spur.


365 days of orchids – day 236 – Pleurothallis omoglossa

This is a medium to large sized Pleurothallis with 10cm heart shaped leaved on 20cm stems. The flowers are produced successively from the base of the leaf and sit neatly on top of the leaf. This plant is always in flower.

The species is endemic to Ecuador where it grows in wet forests from 1000 to 2500m and we keep the plant damp all year and well shaded in Cool Americas.


365 days of orchids – day 235 – Epidendrum ciliare

This attractive epidendrum species is found right through Central America and down through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Out of flower it looks very like a uni-foliate cattleya but soon shows it’s unique character when the flower spikes appear. Spikes produce up to six large flowers evolved to attract a moth pollinator although it offers no reward and in common with many orchids relies on deceit pollination. Some interesting research indicates that the species produces an variety of scents presumably to aid with deceit pollination.

The species is found high in trees in warm forest from 500-1000m altitude and we find that the plant succeeds well mounted allowing it to dry out rapidly between watering. In pots we have found it prone to rot in the new growth from being kept to wet. It also enjoys bright light.

Our plant in flower has been sitting on the same mount for around 15 years and has attached itself to the mesh support. We will be splitting it up after flowering.



365 days of orchids – day 234 – Phalaenopsis equestris

This miniature Phalaenopsis species is native to the Philippines and Southern Taiwan where it is reported growing as an epiphyte in lowland forest near streams.

The small flowers are produced on arching spikes that continue to grow for several months with successive flowers each lasting about a month.

This plant was deflasked about five years ago and grows very happily indoors where it flowers every year and grows in a small china coffee cup (with drainage holes drilled with a diamond drill bit) Interestingly the leaves grow towards towards the light and the flowers grow away from the light.

It’s habitat suggests a need for constant warm temperatures and so we find the greenhouse a little cool in winter but a centrally heated house perfect.


365 days of orchids – day 233 – Bulbophyllum comberi

One of our smaller growing and flowering bulbophyllums is this species native to Malaysia, Java and Borneo. We grow the species mounted and it produces dangling stems of small single leaved pseudobulbs and flowers several times a year from the base of the pseudobulbs.

The flowers are small but an attractive dark red and they a well worth a closer look.