365 days of orchids – day 558 – Pleurothallis convallaria

This species is new to 365 days and has dramatic hairy flowers 5mm across. Flowers are dark red and the hairs are white.

The species is native to elfin forest (dwarf forests on misty ridges that is usually very rich in epiphytes) in Central America and it seems at home in a basket in Cool Americas where we keep plants well watered all year.


365 days of orchids – day 557 – Coelogyne fragrans

This large flowered Coelogyne is native to Papua New Guinea where it is reported in montane forests from 100 to 2000m which suggests it can thrive in a wide range of temperatures.

We find that plants do best in our Cool Asia section (min 10C) where plants flower profusely from the developing new growths in early summer.

Some related species are sequential with their flowering while this species produces 2-4 flowers per spike with all the flowers opening together and giving a great display. We find that plants enjoy really heavy watering as the growths develop over the summer.


365 days of orchids – day 556 – Pleurothallis sarracenia

This is a small growing species from the Mata Atlantica, Brazil with 1cm long leaves that hug the bark it grows on and unusual dark purple flowers with just a tiny opening for the pollinating ant to enter the flower.

We find plants do well mounted in a shady spot in Cool Americas where we water them throughout the year. We haven’t yet identified what the ants find attractive about the flower and have never seen a british ant visiting flowers so perhaps the reward is specific to the local Brazilian ants.

Hi Ed here, I wanted to add some information about ants especially as this week was the nuptial flights for Lasius Niger (the black European garden ant) , as I have caught some queen ants I have some pictures of them.

I have only had these ones for a day and one of them has started laying eggs this means I have the perfect conditions for them and they are happy.

Ants are closely related to bees and wasps. they are in the family of Formicidae as they all have a queen, except the species Paraponera clavata (the asian bullet ant). instead of the asian bullet ants having a queen they find a dominant ant this ant acts as a queen. the newly found queen rips the reproduction organs so their is no other possible egg laying female ant, they even do it to the larvae. not much is known about this species of ant apart from what i have written here.

scientists think that ants evolved from wasps because almost all male ants look like waspsImage result for male ant



365 days of orchids – day 555 – Encyclia pollardiana

This is a strong growing species from Mexico found in open forests between 1000m and 1400m altitude. The species description gives the spike length as 30-60cm but our plant usually manages at least 1m and this year the branched spike is 125cm tall with around 150 flowers each 3cm across.

The plant grows in a basket and seems to thrive in good light with heavy watering when in growth from now until November.

This plant was purchased in 1995, as a seedling growing on a tiny slab of cork. The trader (who is no longer in business) described the species as a miniature! Always do your research 🙂



365 days of orchids – day 554 – Bulbophyllum frostii

This endearing little orchid is referred to by the students of the orchid project as ‘the little clog orchid’ which perfectly describes the little flowers that appear in twos and threes.

The species is native to Vietnam where it grows in warm forests at around 1450-1500m. Plants seem to enjoy a well drained but shady spot suggesting that they grow in the lower canopy.

We grow plants in Warm Asia where they do well both mounted and in baskets. We also have lots of seedlings growing in our propagation lab and we look forward to these being deflasked next year.