Masdevallia veitchiana – 365 days of orchids – day 1296

This weekend’s sunlight really enhances the vibrant colours of our Masdevallia veitchianas that are flowering again. The flowers look orange and red but this coplour is actually made from the flowers combination of a yellow ground and tiny raised pink warts – a clever trick.

This species is endemic to Peru where it grows between 2000m and 4000m as a terrestrial amongst grasses and we are indebted to Henry Oakley for these great photographs of the species on Machu Picchu. This habitat explains the long flower spikes which carry the flowers well clear of the leaves and in reach of pollinating humming birds.


The Incas call the species Wajanki.


Platystele consorbrina – 365 days of orchids – day 1295

Tiny but perfectly formed – Platystele consorbrina is a very special orchid. I was delighted to read the recent feedback from one of our online customers;  “Such a sweet little plant, but wasn’t sure what the long fine hair like spike was till I got a magnifying glass. It was the flower stem and the tiniest flower I’ve ever seen. So to view this you need to keep your magnifying glass next to the plant… Unique little plant”

The Colombian species is almost always in flower as the very long spikes produce flowers successively over several months. The individual flowers are just a few mm across and have a lovely deep red lip that contrasts with the other pale petals and sepals.

The plant here is in a 5.5cm pot and the leaves are 5cm long making the plant very compact apart from the very long spikes.

The species grows in wet forests from 1600-2100m which makes it less fussy about temperatures than some Platystele species and we grow it both cool (min 10C) intermediate (min 13C) and warm (min 17C) and in each environment we find it is a vigorous grower provided it is kept shaded.

We do have plants for sale at the shop


WSBEorchids website is back thanks to Daniel

We are all up and running again thanks to Daniel Groves who created this site with Luke Barnes back in 2008 – Daniel is now 28 and 10 years after leaving school has not yet managed to escape from the Orchid Project. Which all goes to show that the Orchid Project’s  philosophy of ‘If you need something done ask a teenager’ still holds, even true when the teenager in question has grown old and become a top professional and innovator in their field (Dan is now a Project Leader and Product Owner)

Today’s Orchid will follow soon as well as some news items.


Amorphophallus bulbifer – 365 Days of Orchids – Bonus non-orchid

This easy to grow terrestrial Aroid is widespread across sub temperate areas of the Himalayas, including Sikkim, whilst not an orchid, it’s interesting enough to warrant a place on the blog. It’s annual growth cycle is unlike any orchid, entering a winter dormancy where the bulbs can be stored out of any compost and entirely dry for a few months of the year, producing a large single leaf in the early spring, which remains until the onset of the next winter dormancy, similar to the photo below of Amorphophallus konjac. When mature the corm will occasionally produce a large, short lived flower-like structure, botanically this structure is an inflorescense and produces a large number of separate male and female flowers at the base of the enlarged central spadix. These flowers mature at different times, helping prevent self pollination. The ‘flower’ is only open for a few days and carries a strong, unpleasant smell of rotten meat which, whilst one of the more mild fragrances in the genus, is enough to fill the entire first floor of a house, much to my family’s disgust.

This plant is easy to grow, requiring similar conditions to many sub temperate orchids like Disa and Stenoglottis and can be grown outdoors for most of the year, coming in before the first frost as it is not frost hardy, but is happy to grow with warmer orchid collections, although I would reccomend letting it flower outdoors due to the smell.