How a parent plant’s DNA affects the hybrid

The hybrid Angraecum Veitchii Angraecum eburneum

This month we have a perfect demonstration of how the DNA of parent species influence the character of  their hybrid. We have  the two species Angraecum sesquipedale and Angraecum eburneum, and their hybrid Angraecum Veitchii all in flower at once.

Angraecum sesquipedale is a large growing species that produces a few large flowers each with a twelve inch ( thirty centimetres ) long spur. It is pollinated by a moth with a tonuge the same length as the spur. Angraecum eburneum is another large growing species but with many smaller flowers and short spurs.

The hybrid Angraecum Veitchii has an interesting combination of its parents’ characteristics. It is a large growing plant with leaves longer than A. sesquipedale. The flowers are smaller than A. sesquipedale but bigger than A. eburneum. There are many flowers on a spike but not as many as A.eburneum can produce. The flowers have a  lip with a similar shape to A. eburneum but the other sepals are wider as in A. sesquipedale. The length of the spur is intermediate between that of its parents.

Have a look at the photos for yourself and try to spot the similarities. These photos were all taken by me on Saturday.

Angraecum sesquipedale (Darwins orchid)


Data logging video goes live


Heather hold a data logger and Zoe presses a button!

We have been working recently with Science Scope and Bath University. Science Scope make the data loggers we use in the greenhouses and took to Laos. Bath University are working on ways to improve science lessons through the introduction of technology.

Find out all about it in this video which is live on the Bath University website.



Trying out QR code at Writhlington

Try this


Thanks to Clancy we are trying out QR code to provide additional information about our orchids for visitors around the greenhouse or soon even on the labels of any plant you buy.

If you haven’t met QR code (short for Quick response code) it is a square that provides a link straight to a web page if you scan it with a smart phone (using a free app).

Try this one and you will find information about one of our plants, where it comes from, how we grow it – great information if you buy a new plant.

If none of the above makes any sense to you, or you don’t have a smart phone ….don’t worry we will always have lots of old fashioned information in paper form.

Let us know what you think of this trial.



Happy 2012

All of at the writhlington orchid project wish you a happy new year and a good growing. We are excited about the twelve months ahead. we hope to see you at these big events.

The London RHS orchid show march 15th, 16th, 17th 2012. we are planning a really big display and some information about our laos trip.

The Hampton Court flower show July 3rd-8th 2012. our display will showcase orchids from across the tropical world.

The 25th British orchid council, British orchid congress 26th-28th October 2012 at Writhlington school. Visit the page on this website to register or find out about it.


Pollination starts five years of anticipation

We have lots of amazing orchid species in flower at the moment and so our team of orchid growers are busy pollinating flowers to set seed capsules. Pollination is an exciting moment when every student starts to look forward to a greenhouse full of newly flowering seedlings of their favourite species.

On average it takes ten months for a seed capsule to ripen and then it’s time for seed sowing our propagation laboratory. After another eighteen months the first seedlings will be ready to deflask and with luck these first seedlings will flower in just three years though with larger growing species it may take five or six years.

Fortunately we are patient people in the Orchid Project and of course each year sees new batches of seedlings coming up to flowering size. This is a good month for Heather as she is having the fun of pollinating some of her top plants like Barkeria skinneri and watching the first flowers open on a batch of Cattleya coccinea seedlings she has been looking after for two years.

If you would like to see how we pollinate our plants then why not come along to Orchid Christmas on 15th December which will include a special pre-christmas holiday pollination workshop.

Heather pollinates Barkeria skinneri