WSBEorchids

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.

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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

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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

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365 days of orchids – day 28 – Dendrobium kiauense

dendrobiumkiauense close

Today we have another Dendrobium with an unusual growth form. Dendrobium kiauense is one of a group of dendrobiums that grow stems of alternate overlapping leaves. The pretty little flowers emerge along the stem in little clusters and are produced several times throughout the year.

dendrobium kiauense plant

We find the plant enjoys growing in a small basket of lumpy bark compost as you can see in this photo.

The species is native to the lower forests of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, on the Island of Borneo. We have seen related species in Sikkim and Laos and found them growing on lower branches and trunks on evergreen trees in shade implying that the species prefers protection from full sun. Our plant grows in the Warm Asia section (minimum 17C)

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