We are real fans of the genus Masdevallia. These plants are mostly found in the cloud forests of south and central America and so we grow them cool (minimum 12C) in Cool Americas with plenty of water throughout the year. Most Masdevallias produce one flower per spem but some like Mas. superbiens produce many flowers on each spike. The remarkable flowers of this species with purple spots on a white ground and orange/yellow tails on each sepal make it rather special and so aptly named. It is native to Ecuador and Bolivia.
365 days has now reached day 7 and so it is time for the first public vote for orchid of the week. Enter your vote here for results tomorrow – Vote
One of our favourite and most reliable Paphs is this species from Borneo. We grow the species warm (Min 16C) and in low light with some shading throughout the year and extra in the summer months.
There is strong field evidence of pollination of similar species by wasps and if you look closely there is a small green/yellow lump in the centre of the staminode in the centre of the flower and it is thought that this is an aphid mimic to attract the wasps that feed on aphids. The wasp would then slip into the pouch and be forced to climb the ladder of hairs at the back of the pouch, first depositing and pollen on the stigmatic surface before finding fresh pollen attached as it emerges from one of two openings at the back of the staminode.
This is the first flowering of plants we have raised from seed collected in Brazil in 2006. Ten years from seed to flowering is a while to wait but we have been able to other things during those ten years.
As Jacob reminds me, we think we may be the first to raise this species successfully from seed. We will be pollinating the plant to produce a fresh batch of seed this week.
In the wild we found the plant growing as an epiphyte on the shrub Vellosia which clings to bare granite slopes on the dryer slopes of the Organ Mountains.
The leaves of Pseudolaelia appear to mimic the rough leaves of Vellosia which presumably reduce the chance of grazing. We took the photo below of the plant flowering on ‘Tick Mountain’ in Brazil during the 2001 Writhlington expedition. Thanks to Dick Warren and all at the Rio Atlantic Forest Trust for taking us to this fantastic habitat.
It is great that so many of you are following 365 days of orchids – I hope we can give you something you enjoy every day. Feel free to post your comments on each day’s offering, and look out for the first public vote which will be at the end of the week. Do feel free to share a link to this page to anyone you think may enjoy following 365 days. Today’s orchid species is rather an impressive one.
This large flowered dramatic Dendrobium is native to the Eastern Himalayas from Assam through China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. We find it does best grown warm (we give it a minimum of 16C) where it seems to flower well without a marked rest period. The long pseudobulbs are particularly attractive with their covering of dark hairs.
On our expeditions to Laos we have found its habitat in evergreen forest with hot wet summers and dryer cooler winters although dew is significant in the dry season leaving the forest damp every morning.
This Gongora produces long spikes of large flowers and is native to Colombia. This clone is missing most of the red spots usual in the species. We grow our Gongoras in baskets but make sure that they stay damp and only hang tem up high when their pendulous flower spikes appear.