Pleurothallis pallida – 365 days of orchids – day 1524

Some botanists are hopeless in selecting names and beautiful orchids like this small growing Pleurothallis species end up with uninspiring names that don’t do them justice.

Pleurothallis pallida is endemic to Panama where it grows in warm wet forest making it more heat tolerant than some of our smaller pleurothallids.

Attractive sprays of pale pink flowers are produced from the base of leaves and the flowers open together.

The plant shown is in a 5.5 cm pot showing the diminutive stature of this lovely orchid.


Bulbophyllum picturatum – 365 days of orchids – day 1523


We always have at least one Bulbophyllum species in flower and Bulbophyllum picturatum always flowers in February.

Bulbophyllum is an extraordinary genus and we have seen bulbophyllum species in our trips to:

Sarawak – where bulbophyllum purpurescens is a common orchid in lowland forest (image below in wet forest)

Rwanda where we found Bulbophyllum oreonastes flowering all around the Karimanzovu swamp

Laos where extraordinary bulbophyllums included Bulbophyllum lemniscatodes and Bulbophyllum liliaceum (below)

Sikkim with the delightful (if inconvenient in cultivation) bulbophyllum crassipes

and even in Brazil, Bulbophyllum campos-portoi.

This makes Bulbophyllum one of the rare pandemic orchid genera, and the wide distribution could be one explanation for the wonderfully varied forms of the flowers.

Todays Bulbophyllum picturatum (below in case you have forgotten what it looks like after our trip around the globe) is vigorous and free flowering. The species  is native to lowland forest in Thailand and Myanmar where it grows as an epiphyte in evergreen trees. The intricate flowers are produces in a terminal semicircular umbel like groups. This habit is common in a large group of Bulbophyllums once called cirrhopetalums. The large creamy yellow tube at the bottom of the flower is formed from the lateral sepals. The flowers are fragrant and have a fishy smell which is not unpleasant. – Hoorah for Bulbophyllums.

We grow plants in baskets in shade in our Warm Asia section and water throughout the year.






Cymbidium insigne – 365 days of orchids – day 1522

Yesterday’s species was from the hot coastal regions of Brazil but today we return to the cool mountains of South East Asia and the elegant flowers of Cymbidium insigne.

Cymbidium insigne is a terrestrial species found in the mountains that straddle Northern Thailand, Northern Vietnam and Southern China. It grows in poor soils in the vicinity of Rhododendron species that it mimics. Bees mistake the Cymbidium flowers (which have no reward) for nectar filled Rhododendron flowers allowing the orchid to gain pollination with minimum use of scarce resources. The flowers are long lasting and come in shades of white, pink and cream. (Rhododendron colours)

The flowers of Cymbidium insigne are held on long upright stems to hold them clear of surrounding vegetation and this gives the species an elegance that is lacking in so many of its hybrids.

We grow many of our Cymbidiums including this species really cool in our Warm Temperate section which has a minimum winter temperature of 7C, and vents that open when ever the temperature exceeds 15C. We replicate the monsoon conditions experienced in the natural habitat with heavy watering from April until the end of September and then keep the plants damp at other times. We believe that the most common reasons for people not flowering Cymbidiums are under-watering (especially in the summer months) or excessive damage from red spider mite that can easily occur if plants are kept too hot and dry.

We find that this species grows well from seed and flowers in around five years from sowing if grown well and we are delighted to have lots of seedlings out of flask this month (see parent with seedlings below)

We start seedlings out of flask in small groups in a 5.5cm pot as shown here. The seedlings will be for sale as soon as they are properly established and you too can look forward to the beauty of Cymbidium insigne.


Cattleya amethystoglossa – 365 days of orchids – day 1521

We are delighted to celebrate the flowering of this wonderful Brazilian orchid species.

Cattleya amethystoglossa is a large growing bifoliate (two leaved) cattleya and in growth it is not unlike Cattleya guttata (see our plant below) and it shares the majestic tall pseudobulbs and large sprays of flowers.

Our Cattleya amethystoglossa is still a pup with bulbs 70cm long, and it will eventually develop spikes of up to 30 gloriously spotted pinky purple flowers.

Cattleya amethystoglossa is restricted to the rocky habitats near the coast in the Brazilian states of Bahia, Minas Gerais and Pernambuco growing either as a lithophyte of epiphyte on palms. In this habitat it experience bright light and heat that we try and provide by hanging our plant high in the roof of our Warm Americas section.

In the summer, the growth of new pseudobulbs is rapid and we provide lots of feed and water to ensure for the new growth that in turn rewards us with a good show of flowers after a cooler dryer winter rest.