Hazar very kindly gave Tallis her Sarawak layer cake recipes before we left Sarawak and Yesterday Tallis appeared at school with some excellent home made layer cake. It had a very genuine Kuching flavour and texture (well done Tallis). I think we have a new tradition.
Another frosty night here in Somerset but perfect tropical conditions in the school greenhouse, where Cattleya pumila has made its seasonal appearance.
This is a small growing but large flowered species from Brazil and it always causes some excitement when it comes into flower each autumn. We have several clones and all have been grown from seed. The species is native to humid coastal forests in the Mata Atlantica, Eastern Brazil. The species grows as an epiphyte from 600m-1300m altitude which suggests it can cope with wide range of temperatures but we find it does best in our Cool Americas section (Min 12C) where we water it throughout the year.
We have tried the species mounted and in pots and for us it does much better when mounted.
Another tiny orchid to follow yesterday’s Trisetella cordeliae is this delicate species that grows close to the Trisetellas in our Cool Americas Section.
Some of our orchids are not much bigger than the moss that grows around them and Pleurothallis linearifolia is a true miniature species native to Brazil and Northern Argentina where it grows in cloud forest. Leaves are only 1cm long but flowers are relatively large and bourn in profusion every autumn.
We find plants do well mounted or in pots and baskets but we need to ensure that plants are not smothered by moss as the species really enjoys cool, wet, shaded conditions which really suits moss!
Despite its tiny size the species grows relatively quickly and can be split to share this lovely plant around. The flowers are also sweetly scented.
The star of the greenhouse this morning is a group of our mini-miniature trisetellas. Trisetella cordeliae which is really small both in terms of its leaves – just 10mm long and short spikes with small (but relatively large) attractive hairy pink flowers. The flower spikes produce a succession of flowers over a long period.
The species is endemic to Peruvian cloud forests and we treat it the same as other Trisetella – cool, damp and shaded.
We have had such an interesting time exploring the orchids of Sarawak and it is a reminder of other forests we have visited on school expeditions.
Oncidium longipes is a Brazilian species and we saw it growing in the forests around Macae de Cima in our school visits to Brazil in 2000 and 2006. It is restricted to primary forests and grows in the mid canopy amongst other epiphytes in dappled shade and high humidity.
We find the species really prefers to be mounted where it responds by clothing the mount in growths that burst into flower in the Autumn. Flower spikes usually produce between one and three flowers but they are large for the size of the plant as seen here.
We have grown our plants from flask (they flower two years out of flask) and they show considerable variation in colour and patterning.