365 days of orchids – day 647 – Masdevallia guayanensis

We have lots of Masdevallias flowering this week. One of my favourites is this small growing species from South America.

Masdevallia guayanensis (despite its name) is found in Venezuela, and northern Brazil as well as Guyana and grows as an epiphyte in moist forest at around 1800m altitude.

The leaves are about 5cm long and over time it forms a tight clump which then produces a profusion of relatively large and rather elegant white flowers. It is rather pendant in its habit and it works really well mounted especially as the stems are dark and contrast really well with the bright green leaves and clear white flowers.


Scientists and policy makers at the London Conference on illegal wildlife trade 2018

Chloe and Jess made the most of the opportunities to discuss illegal trade in orchids and sustainable alternatives with a wide range of scientists and policy makers at the conference yesterday. Therese Coffee MP and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Life Opportunities was fascinated to hear the students perspective on the illegal trade in orchids.

Professor Dahlia Conde, Director of Science at the Conservation Science Alliance lives in Denmark but comes from Mexico and was interested to consider Mexican opportunities for orchids in education.

Ruth Bone (Kew) and Sarina Veldman are both working on sustainable orchid production to protect terrestrial African species used as a food in Zambia and were particularly interested in the girls’ laboratory work.

We expect a number of new initiatives to come from our new partnerships and look forward to sharing our experience with visitors to the British Orchid Show and Congress on November 3rd and 4th.


365 days of orchids – day 646 – Aerangis luteo-alba var rhodosticta

In London we were keen to present a diverse range of species and we were pleased to be able to include Aerangis luteo-alba. This small growing species is native to tropical Africa from Cameroon across to Kenya and Tanzania. It is pollinated by moths and so is fragrant at night as well creamy white to show up in the forest at night. The red column helps the moth to locate the entrance to the spur full of nectar (look just below the red column).

This is a lovely orchid to grow – it likes a warm and shady environment and we grow the species mounted and in small baskets (the plant is only 12cm across) in our Warm Asia section (although it is from Africa) with a minimum of 16C. It comes from riverine forest (the humid forest found along rivers) from 1200m altitude to 2200m altitude and so it would also grow happily a little cooler. Like Aerangis and related species we have seen in coastal forest near Durban (South Africa) this species is found on twigs and small branches with roots running long distances to collect available moisture.



365 days of orchids – day 645 – Cattleya perrinii

Two Cattleyas in a row as posts.

This large flowered orchid is native to the Mata Atlantica coastal forests of eastern Brazil. It is found at around 800m where it grows as a lithophyte or epiphyte in seasonally dry forest which experiences wet warm summers and cooler dryer winters.

The flowers are best looked at from above as the plant is clearly attracting pollinators that fly over the flowers.

Our plants usually produce between two and four flowers on a strong stem and have a single stiff leaf on each bulb. The natural habitat suggests that plants need intermediate temperatures (min 14C) but we find that plants do well both in Warm Americas (minimum 16C) and Cool Americas (minimum 12C). New growths produce few thick roots and we find that these do best in baskets where there is excellent drainage but we can water heavily in summer.

In its habitat this plant has become very scarce mostly as a result of habitat loss.


Tallis working on Show Babies for the British Orchid Show and Congress, Nov 2-4th 2018

Not long now until the British Orchid Show and Congress on 2nd-4th November and we have a tradition when we host a British Orchid Congress that every registrant gets a Show Baby – an orchid species in vitro – included in their registrants bag. Tallis was hard at work before the start of lessons this morning and again after school to make sure that we have lots of vigorous little seedlings from interesting species.

A number of people have contacted us about tickets for the Show and Congress.

Public Day Tickets – £5 on Saturday 3rd November and Sunday 4th November – Please pay on the door (no advance tickets)

Preview Evening and Buffet  £20 – Friday 2nd November – and buy in advance

Science Symposium (Saturday 3rd November) £10 – Please visit buy in advance (Access to a day of scientific lectures on Orchid biology and conservation – includes show entry)

Hardy Orchid Day (Sunday 4th November) £10 – Please visit and buy in advance (Access to a day of  lectures on hardy orchids including identification, travel, cultivation, propagation and conservation- includes show entry)

Full registration for the weekend (£35 single, £50 Joint) including access to preview evening, science symposium, hardy orchid day and show access Please visit and buy in advance

Congress dinner Saturday 3rd November – £25 Please visit and buy in advance

Please forward a link to this post to anyone who is asking about tickets.