One of the smallest orchids flowering this week is this Asian miniature. Minimiflora means ‘tiny flowered’ and this species lives up to its name. The species is found in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines and grows as an epiphyte (on trees) or a lithophyte (on rocks) in hot lowland rainforest.
The long lasting tiny flowers are about 1mm across with many produced in succession on a pendulous spikes up to 10cm long. The span across the leaves is just 5cm but our plant seems determined to become a specimen against the odds and is developing additional growths and so eventually for a clump. The plant produces lots of roots when grown mounted and we hang it high in our Warm Asia section where it gets a daily watering from the hose.
We have another of the dramatic dendrobiums in flower this week with Dendrobium farmeri. This species is similar to Dendrobium thyrsiflorum but with pinky petals and a yellow lip rather than white petals and a yellow lip. The flowers are often a little more closed than Dendrobium thyrsiflorum (see below for comparison)
Dendrobium farmeri is found from Sikkim to South East Asia and we have seen it growing at an altitude of 500m on large boulders in West Bengal near Kalimpong in full sun where it would experience wet summers and much dryer cooler winters.
We grow the several clones of the species in the same conditions as Dendrobium thyrsiflorum in baskets in our Warm Asia section.
We have some amazing bulbophyllums flowering this week and the first we will feature is this deep red flowered species that was a hit at the London Show over Easter.
Bulbophyllum collettii is native to forests from India to Northern Thailand. Its intricate flowers attract fly pollinators and a really worth a close look.
Bulbophyllum collettii is a compact grower (the plant here is in an 8cm basket) but with large flowers and is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures as it is found from 200m altitude in hot lowland forests right up to 2000m in cool evergreen forest. We find it grows best in our Warm Asia Section where is is a reliable flowerer every spring.
Another of our star plants from the London Show was this unusual species from Australia. Dendrobium pugioniforme is a remarkable orchid with thick pointed leaves produced along long pendulous stems. The flowers begin to appear on our plant in early March and the last ones go over at the end of April. As can be seen from the first photo the flowers are non-resupinate (upside down with the lip at the top) and produced in profusion from all along the pendulous stems.
We grow our plant mounted on a largish piece of cork bark but the plant has grown far beyond the mount and now hangs down nearly 2m. We spray the plant daily and hang it up where it gets good light in our Cool Asia section.
We are pleased to say that we have a few bits at the base that are rooted ready for propagating so that we will have a few plants for sale at future shows.
Some of our orchids are just too big to take out of the greenhouse to shows and this species is one of them.
The species is native to Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, where it grows as a terrestrial or epiphyte, and produces thin canes about 2m long, and in late spring these large (15cm across) flowers that last about two days. This is a lot of leaves and stems for a couple of days flowers but we are really fond of the species as it has a dramatic splendour all of its own.
We grow it in a 90 cm diameter tree container and I am reminded by last year’s post that we need to split the plant up to provide pieces of this unusual orchid for our partners at the Eden Project, Bristol University Botanic Garden, The Living Rainforest and Bristol Aquarium, so that more people can enjoy this great species.