This Brazillian species has recently been transferred from Oncidium to Gomesa along with many of the Brazillian oncidiums. It is native the the Mata Atlantica forests running along the Atlantic Coast of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. It is found from as an epiphyte from coastal marshes up to 1200m and adapted to the seasonal dry period by growing a mass of roots. We grow the species mounted as it has something of a climbing habit with each pseudobulb growing above the previous one.
It is a reliable tough species and delivers real impact each summer with masses of small yellow flowers on branched flower spikes as shown in the photographs. It has featured in our displays at Hampton Court Flower Show but moving it is always a bit of a problem as its roots will have grown and fixed it firmly the the wire mesh we support our mounted plants on.
We have seen similar species in Brazil where the mass of yellow flowers in the canopy can be seen hundreds of metres across a valley.
This unusual Maxillaria species has flowers with long curling petals and a strong pleasant fragrance. The flowers are produced in profusion from last year’s pseudobulb each on individual stems. Looking at photos online this is a variable species which reflects its wide range across South America (Eastern Brazil to Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador) where it grows in both lowland forest and montane forest up to 1800m. We find that the species does best in our Cool Americas section.
We particularly like the way the petals and sepals appear to have had their tips dipped in yellow dye.
This is a small growing species but not the neatest. The 2cm equitant growths (the leaves fold around the stem so that they overlap the one opposite and above in a fan shape) produce vegetative shoots that produce another growth a few cm above the original. The end result is a scrambling plant that then produces cute little flowers (shown here) on thin 10cm spikes.
The species is endemic to Cuba which makes it rather special. We are planning a permanent display at the Bristol Aquarium to highlight the importance of Islands in biodiversity and conservation and so Oncidium hawkesianum will be sure to feature. It is also known as Tolumnia hawkesianum.