365 days of orchids – day 618 – Bulbophyllum fascinator

This is another remarkable Bulbophyllum species with large flowers that have intriguing fillaments of bright purple pink attached to the petals and sepals.

This was one of our focus species on Thursday as the species is native to lowland forests in Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and the Philippines and so of special interest to our visitors from malaysia. This is a warm growing species and at home in our Warm Asia section. We find that the plant does well in pots or baskets and enjoys shade during the summer months. This species shares similar characteristics to other fly pollinated Bulbophyllums but does not have a particularly bad smell.

The flowers are produced individually but they make up for lack of numbers by their size compared to the plant and the flowers can be up to 20cm long. Here is a view from further back.


365 days of orchids – day 617 – Macroclinium lineare

Yesterday we had a miniature flowering in-vitro and today we have a related miniature flowering on its cork mount in Warm Americas. This species is a true mini-miniature with a plant 3cm high and relatively large 1cm flowers in groups on short spikes.

Macroclinium lineare is found in warm mossy forests in Costa Rica and Panama at around 700-1400m. This species has shorter flower spikes than Macroclinium chasei  (day 117) but larger flowers, and when it flowers well it produces a profusion of flowers that all open together giving a great display.

We grow the species mounted in Warm Americas (Min 15C) and spray it daily. The pollinator is a euglossine bee.


Full programme announced for Science and Conservation Symposium at the British Orchid Show and Congress

A highlight of the British Orchid Congress and show is the British Orchid Congress – Science and Conservation Symposium that includes lectures exploring a wide range of orchid research. Speakers include a number of early career scientists and the event is expected to generate some lively debate! 

The Congress runs from Friday 2nd November to Sunday 4th November and features orchid displays and sales from across Europe as well as a separate public lecture programme, a hardy orchid day on Sunday 4th November, tours of the Writhlington School Orchid Project facilities, refreshments and other activities.

Registrants for the Science and Conservation Symposium will have free entry to the British Orchid Congress and Show throughout Saturday 3rd November.

Registration for the Science and Conservation Symposium costs £10, Registration for the full three day congress (including the symposium and many other events) costs £35 single and £55 joint. Further details and an online registration forms can be found at



Students welcome visitors from Malaysia

Today we hosted a visit from a group of educationalists and scientists from Malaysia, and students were able to share both their knowledge of orchids and their experiences of the orchid project.

The Malaysian delegation including Dr Ratna Roshida Ab Razak, Dr Tuan Noriati, and Tengku Auvaroza were keen to find out about the Orchid Project, the impact it has on students and how it is used both in the curriculum, as a vehicle for research, and as a conservation enterprise.

Student Chloe McGiveron who first met Tengku Auvaroza at the European Orchid Show in Paris explained, “We showed our visitors the laboratories and the greenhouse and explained about our work in Rwanda and at shows. They were really interested to learn about students individual stories and the way that the orchid project has helped us to develop skills and attitudes that help us to succeed.”

We expect the visit to be the start of a long and fruitful collaboration with our passionate new partners in Malaysia.


365 days of orchids – day 616 – Psygmorchis pusilla

Unusually our orchid of the day is a species flowering in flask. This is Psygmorchis pusilla (previously called Oncidium pusilla) which is a large flowered miniature twig epiphyte from Central America. The plant here is 3cm high with a 2cm bright yellow flower.

This is a species we have seen growing in Guatemala and Belize in hot dryish lowland forest on thin branches and twigs. The photo below was taken in Guatemala where the plant was growing and flowering near Yaxha in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve.

All the plants we have seen in the wild have been small and in cultivation we find the species short lived but profusely flowering on short spikes that produce lots of flowers successively.

When we take plants out of flask we find that they do best mounted as they seem to resent compost around their roots. The natural habitat is most like out Warm Americas section with minimum 15C and bright light.

Flowering this species in flask shows how all a plants needs are met by the growing media we provide them in the laboratory. We are looking forward to teaching more people our laboratory techniques both next week at open evening and at the British orchid Show in November.