365 days of orchids – day 31 – Bulbophyllum picturatum

Bulbophyllum picturatum is a small sized bulbophylum native to Thailand and Myanmar. This plant naturally grows in warm conditions in lowland forest and we grow it in our section Warm Asia. This relates to conditions of between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius as the winter minimum and the vents open at 26 degrees Celcius. We water it with all of our plants once a day with feed in the summer.

As with many bulbophylums the flowers are scented to attract flies which act as it’s pollinators. This means that it is not recommended to smell this species as it is likely to smell of fish – unless you like fishy smells of course. Bulbophylum picuratum normally produces flowers during the spring. But has only just opened in the past week making it fairly unusual for it to be flowering in January.


Winner of Orchid of the week – week 4

This weeks winner by a large margin in Cymbidium hookerianum – our gorgeous species from Sikkim and the surrounding Himalayas. Tomorrow we will be cross pollinating between our two clones of Cymbidium hookerianum so expect seedlings in flask available in early 2020 and flowers by 2024 – we can’t wait.

Both clones are shown here with Tabby and Eleanor who are delighted that their Cymbidium won orchid of the week. Tomorrow is the last Day in January and so we will have our first Orchid of the Month vote.


365 days of orchids – day 30 – Paphiopedilum appletonianum

paph appletonianum flower

This fantastic Paphiopedilum comes from a wide range across across South East Asia; Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. It is reported as growing as a terrestrial in deep shade under evergreen forests.

Most Paphiopedilums are pollinated by wasps or hover flies and it has been suggested that they are attracted by fake aphids on the flower. To check this out we took a close up and found these amazing iridescent lumps around the top of the pouch shaped lip. (photo below)

Paphiopedilum appletonianum

Perhaps these do attract the pollinator especially as they reflect UV light really well and would show up clearly in the low light of the forest floor. If anyone else knows anything about iridescence in paphs we would love to hear from you.

We grow our Paphs in Warm Asia and keep them well shaded throughout the year to replicate their shady forest homes.

Here are the same iridescent lumps under UV

paph appletonianum UV

And just because we have now got excited about iridescence we have found that Paphiopedilum tonsum (orchid day 6) also has bright iridescent spots near the top of the pouch. (see below in UV)

paph tonsom UV


365 days of orchids – day 29 – Mediocalcar decoratum

mediocalcar 3Mediocalcar 2

This is one of our favourite miniature orchids. The species comes from Papua New Guinea where it grows in shady forest up to 2500m. Mediocalcar decoratum’s small bell shaped flowers in orange and yellow suggest that the likely pollinator is Sun Birds. Sun Bird’s are Africa and Asia’s version of South America’s Humming Birds and we saw some lovely species in Rwanda.

We grow this species mounted on cork bark in Cool America’s (we don’t have a Papua section) where it seems very happy with a minimum of 12C and coolish summers.

Mediocalcar 1