Cattleya loddigesii ‘alba’ – 365 days of orchids – day 1771

We always have a great display of Cattleyas in the depths of winter and the latest to open its biuds is our large flowered alba clone of cattleya loddigesii. The green buds open greeny white and after a few days turn snow white apart from a splash of lemon yellow on the lip.

Cattleya loddigesii is a bifoliate (two leaved) cattleya species from Brazil. The species grows near the Atlantic coast of Brail from 600-900m and was once common in the swampy forests along the regions rivers including the Rio Grande, Rio Tiete, Rio Pardo. Unfortunately much of this forest is now gone and in Brazil we drove through an area where the species had been recorded which is now treeless low grade pasture.

We have a few clones of Cattleya loddigesii and this alba clone is a robust plant with cylindrical pseudobulbs 40cm high that produces a strong flower spike between the two thick leaves with up to six large waxy flowers although there are fewer this year following division last year.

We find the species thrives in a basket hanging in the roof of Warm Americas where it gets lots of light and dries out between watering.


Masdevallia bulbophyllopsis – 365 days of orchids – day 1770

Masdevallia bulbophyllopsis is one of our smaller growing but vigorous masdevallias with 4cm leaves and 15cm flower spikes with about 6-12 flowers on each.

As you can see it does well for us in a small basket though we also find it does well in pots and flowers over a long period through the winter months.

The species is endemic to Ecuador and is found from 1800-2700m, so it is well suited to our Cool Americas section (Min 12C) where we keep it well watered and shaded.

This species is found in a wide range of colour variants and we also have a brown and yellow clone but this is our favourite with crystal white flowers and yellow tails.




Scaphasepalum beluosum – 365 days of orchids – day 1769

This floriferous orchid is Scaphosepalum beluosum that produces masses of unusual 1cm flowers, opening successively on horizontal and pendulous spikes over many months so that mature plants are always in flower.
The 15cm long, broad leaves are attractively tinged with red and show that the plant appreciates a shaded spot away from direct sunlight reflecting the natural habitat.
The species is restricted to cloud forests in Ecuador from 1500-2200m where plants experience year round moisture.
The name Scaphosepalum beluosum means ‘the monsterous flowered scaphosepalum’ which seems very harsh on the wonderfully flowers with their spots and warts. This is certainly a ‘monster’ we are happy to have in our collection.
Plants offered are growing in 7cm pots and have multiple flower spikes.

This is a species that really dislikes warm weather in the greenhouse and we grow plants in baskets very close to the floor so that the leaves are always shaded and cool.


Odontoglossum manuelaresii – 365 days of orchids – day 1768


After yesterday’s stinky Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis we have the beautifully fragrant Odontoglossum manuelaresii today that fills your nostrils with a gorgeous scent similar to Lily of the Valley – or as my year 9’s say ‘Posh hand cream’.

Odontoglossum manuelaraisii is another of the species traditionally included in the genus Odontoglossum but now moved to Oncidium following genetic analysis. The species is endemic to Peru where it grows in cool forests at around 2600m. The species is fairly recently described and can also be found under the name Odontoglossum ariasii. The species is notable for its long upright flower spikes (92cm long this year) which produce branches towards the base and so deliver an impressive amount of flower. The flowers are really long lasting and will be with us well into the spring.

We look forward to growing this plant into a specimen and seeing what it can do when really grown well. It is at home in our Cool Americas section and kept moist all year.


Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis – 365 days of orchids – day 1767

Our smelliest orchid is in flower and this time has two large flower spikes each with about 18 large, unusual and very stinky flowers.

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis is native to lowland forests in New Guinea where it grows as an epiphyte in deep shade. It has several remarkable characteristics including the enormous leaves. Our plant’s longest leaf measures 90cm long and at the base of each leaf is a stout compressed pseudobulb.

The flowers are even stranger than the leaves and mimic meat to attract female carrion flies looking for a good spot to lay their eggs.It has been suggested that the yellow hairs on the red flowers mimic maggots crawling out of meat! – nice concept.

The flowers have a reputation as the smelliest of any orchid species and they do really stink. The flowers have a really foul smell of dead things but you have to get fairly close for it to become too much to bare.

The flowers large red flowers do not open very far, presumably to make the pollinating flies force their way inside and inside they are a glorious deep blood red.

After pollinating the flowers and looking at them closely we have found that the smell does follow us around rather – what a treat!

We grow the species in a basket hanging in Warm Asia (min 17C) and we water throughout the year.