The Ecuagenera display
The show has now drawn to a close, and it held some very interesting and remarkable species, mostly on the Ecuagenera display. amongst them was the grand champion plant, a large Dendrobium parvulum, a species that you really do not see enough in the UK.
Grand Champion Plant
Some of the other notable plants were several Phragmipedium kovachii, a species that, until earlier this week, I had never seen before. The flowers were just as amazing as I had imagined, the flower pictured is as large as my hand, and the indoor lighting does not do the colour justice either. Making it even more amazing that it was only described in 2001.
The outer surface of the sepals was also interesting, most slipper enthusiasts probably already know this. They have a pubescent brown surface that looks exactly like a dead bud, probably deterring predators from eating it, a technique noted in many plant species.
One of our plants of Darwins Comet Orchid – Angraecum sesquipedale from Madagascar – is about to open its flower. For the past month we have been watching the spur below the bud get longer…and longer …and longer. Today it went past 30cm on Joe’s ruler – we need a longer ruler!
This is Masdevallia decumana that featured as day 86 at the end of March and has just started its autumn flowering (twelve buds still to open). Another species that flowers twice a year for us at Writhlington and the perfect thing to brighten up a Monday morning.
Octomeria grandiflora is a species we not be without. It is native to Brazil and we have seen it flowering in forests around Macae de Cima in Rio State growing amongst moss on the trunks of trees in humid primary forest. It appreciates shade and regular watering although we find it does well both mounted or in pots.
The flowers are about 2cm across which seems rather small for ‘grandiflora’ but for an Octomeria species 2cm is huge! We find the species is almost always in flower but gives its main blooming in the autumn.
As part of the Writhlington School Lecture Series we have a scientific evening for the public centred on the orchid project (see poster) The evening kicks off at 6pm with a lecture in the Mendip Building followed by opportunities to explore the laboratory techniques underpinning the project and the conservation lessons learnt over the past twenty years or so. E-mail Emma Pascoe at [email protected] to reserve your free tickets.