Epidendrum nanum – 365 days of orchids – day 1477

This species is a real miniature and this January we have three terminal clusters of the rather sweet and relatively large star like flowers.

This species is the smallest Epidendrum we grow by some way The whole plant here is 3cm across and the tiny growths finish in two or three flowers about 8mm across which flower successively over quite a long period. We can expect flowers until at least March.

Epidendrum nanum (meaning the tiny epidendrum)has been reported from wet forests in Peru and Bolivia from 600-2300m and we find that the species prefers a cool spot in heavy shade in our Cool Americas Section.

Like most of our mini-miniatures we grow this species mounted to really enjoy the whole plant in growth and because we find little plants do best on mounts and away from competition from moss.


Hybrid and parents in flower together

A treat in the greenhouse today is the simultaneous flowering on one of our primary hybrids and both of its parents.

We grow a small number of primary hybrids that show interesting features of the parent species, and this free flowering compact Masdevallia is a great example. Masdevallia veitchiana x decumana has inherited some great character from its parents. Its vibrant orange colour has come from Masdevallia veitchiana (below) which is a medium sized Masdevallia with flowers on long stems.

The hybrid’s flower shape and the compact growth habit are inherited from the wonderful species Masdevallia decumana (below)


Gongora nigropunctata – 365 days of orchids – day 1476

We have a new species for 365 days of orchids today. Gongora nigropunctata is endemic to Peru where it grows in warm wet forest at around 700-900m altitude. This habitat is the challenge for all gongora growers – we grow plants in baskets because of the pendulous spikes but have to work hard to keep plants damp enough to suit their preference.

The name nigropunctata implies dark spots but our plants (like others we have seen) has red spots Рso this is possibly not the best  botanical naming of all time! Despite this the species is absolutely gorgeous and fragrant of course. All gongoras are pollinated by perfume gathering male euglossine bees. We are hoping that the species flowers again later in the year for our film company partners producing a wonderful wildlife film about the bees and filming in our greenhouse too.

This species is considered by some to be a synonym of Gongora grossa (below) which it is similar to, but we keep it separate as the two are easy to tell apart in the greenhouse.


Cleisostoma subulatum – 365 days of orchids – day 1475


Yesterday morning at 7.30am the weather station told me that the outdoor temperature was -3.8 degrees C when I arrived at School. Fortunately it was much warmer inside the greenhouse, and this species brought back lovely memories of our 2019 visit to Sarawak where we saw this species growing in lowland forest near the coast at Bako National Park(below)

We arrived at Bako by boat and waded ashore (below) You can see the forest home of Cleisostoma subulatum at the top of the beach.

The forest at Bako was quite open but Cleisostoma subulatum was growing low down on tree trunks and lower branches in shade. Cleisostoma is a lovely genus and plants have very diverse leaves but very similar flowers. The flowers all have their spurs protruding from their buds well before they open.

Cleisostoma subulatum is a medium sized plant that can grow really large over time, as some of the plants at Bako had, with long pendulous spikes of small flowers that open successively. The species is found from Sikkim in the Himalayas through South east Asia to Malaysia and the Philippines where it grows as an epiphyte in lowland forest up to 500m altutide.

Watering the greenhouse I could almost feel the warm waters of the South China Sea lapping around my feet – The illusion quickly vanished when I stepped outside into the January frost brrrrrrrrrr