Psygmorchis pusilla – 365 days of orchids – day 1434

We have the spectacular Psygmorchid pusilla flowering again – this seedling about three months out of flask. This species is a large flowered miniature twig epiphyte from Central America. The plant here is 2.5cm high with a 2cm bright yellow flower.

This is a species we have seen growing in Guatemala and Belize in hot dryish lowland forest on thin branches and twigs. The photo below was taken in Guatemala where the plant was growing and flowering near Yaxha in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve.

All the plants we have seen in the wild have been small and in cultivation we find the species can be short lived but profusely flowering on short spikes that produce lots of flowers successively. The species was previously called Oncidium pusilla.


Cattleya pumila – 365 days of orchids – day 1433

Cattleya pumila has made its seasonal appearance as the weather outside turns wintery again. The seasons are a wonderful thing and how lovely it is to have friends like this species who flowers come to visit every year – lockdown or no lockdown!

This is a small growing but large flowered species from Brazil and it always causes some excitement when it comes into flower each autumn. We have several clones and all have been grown from seed. The species is native to humid coastal forests in the Mata Atlantica, Eastern Brazil. The species grows as an epiphyte from 600m-1300m altitude which suggests it can cope with wide range of temperatures but we find it does best in our Cool Americas section (Min 12C) where we water it throughout the year.

We have tried the species mounted and in pots and for us it does much better when mounted.


Thanks to Bournemouth Orchid Society for inviting us to talk

We have just had a lovely Zoom talk with Bournemouth Orchid Society – lovely to see everyone and share stories of our expeditions to Sarawak. Well done to Tallis for giving half the talk too.

If your society would like a zoom from the orchid project, do let us know.

Don’t forget that our next Zoom is Orchid Christmas – open to all on 3rd December 6.30 – 7.30 join with this zoom link


Restrepia striata (unusual form with split synsepal and anthocyanin pigment) – 365 days of orchids – day 1432

Restrepia striata is a wonderfully floriferous and straight forward species to grow in a small space. This specimen in a 10cm basket has been in flower for two weeks and has lots of buds to come.

We have several forms of Restrepia striata and this one is notable for its very red leaves and deeply coloured flowers with a clearly split synsepal (made from two joined lateral sepals) at the base of the flower. The red colour of the leaves (and darker flowers) are due to a natural pigment called anthocyanin. This pigment responds to ultraviolet light levels and gives ‘sun tan’ in many orchid leaves in a similar way to the pigment melanin in our skin. It is also responsible for some orchids producing much brighter stronger pink and red colours in summer flowers than winter ones. Different species and different clones produce more anthocyanin in their leaves – something to look out for in your own orchid collection.

Restrepia striata is native to South America where it is found from Colombia to Peru in wet forest from 1200-3000m. We find this species straight forward in cultivation as it seems tolerant of a wide range of light levels and temperatures. We grow it in Cool Americas and enjoy flowers throughout the winter months.