This dramatic and delicate orchid comes from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru where it grows in cool cloud forests. The flowers are produced on branched spikes up to a metre long but our plant has some growing still to do to reach its full potential.
Spikes present a mass of flowers that seem to float in the wind from the nearby fan and are clearly evolved to be seen by pollinators from a long way off. The long spike is a useful feature in cloud forests where tree branches are crowded with ferns and bromeliads as well as orchids.
Hi Tallis here. Dracula deltoidea is an iconic orchid from Equador. It is generally found at elevations of 2600-3000metres so we keep it in Cool America. Most of the orchids from this genus very clearly look like fungi however this ones resemblance is harder to trace. The leaves get damaged if it gets hot so we try to grow it very cool and shady.
This photograph shows one of our plants from below (the flowers grow downwards) and you can see the triangular shape that gives the species its name (delta meaning traingle). The flowers each last a few weeks and they are produced successively over the winter months. We will be splitting one of our plants this spring and so there should be plants available from this summer.
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Which is your favourite orchid from the seven flowering this week?
This Bulbophyllum from South East Asia and Malaysia produces tiny yellow flowers along its rhizome between the single thick leaves.
We have seen this plant growing in evergreen forest in Southern Laos where it’s growths are pendulous indicating it prefers to grow in low light. Its natural habitat has a dry season during the winter and early spring followed by a warm wet summer and autumn. We grow our plant in our Warm Asia section.
Vanda cristata is another of our favourite orchids from the Himalayas. It is a small growing plant that we have seen growing on trees and on rock faces in Sikkim from around 1400 to 18oom altitude. It generally grows in quite open positions either amongst other epiphytes or on bare branches as shown here by this lovely specimen flowering in Sikkim on a tree next to the road between Chumthang and Lachung.
Our good friend in Mohan Pradhan showed us that in Sikkim there are two distinct forms of the species – one with few large flowers and another with more smaller flowers. The two types may represent different species. The two forms are shown below.
We grow the species cool and bright in Cool Asia with heavy watering during the summer and just damp in the winter.