365 days of orchids – day 21- Polystachya pubescens


Polystachya pubescens is one of our African Orchid species and is found in South Africa. We were luck enough to see this orchid in the wild in 2009 during our expedition to Durban in South Africa. We found the plant growing as an epiphyte in coastal tropical forest.

At Writhlington we grow this species in Cool Americas which most closely matches the cool tropical conditions of its natural habitat. Its name refers to the fine hairs on the flower stems.


365 days of orchids – day 20 – Cattleya coccinea

Cattleya coccinea

Hi, Tabby and Ruby here. We are showing you Cattleya coccinea. This orchid grows in cloud forests in Brazil between 12oo and 1500 meters and is pollinated by humming birds. Here in the greenhouse we keep it in the Cool America section (minimum 12C) and grow it mounted and in pots. These plants are both grown from seed and we find it flowers after about four years from when we sow the seed.

The school expeditions to Brazil in 2000 and 2006 saw this species in the wild and here are photos of the plant in its habitat on ridges in the Mata Atlantica. If you look you can see it grows in branches and trunks with moss and so we keep plants damp all year.



365 days of orchids – day 19 – Stelis genychila

Stelis genychila

Stelis are a genus closely related to Masdevallias and Pleurothallis. They are not widely grown in collections but the orchid project has been a big fan since first coming into contact with Stelis species in the cloud forests of Brazil and Costa Rica on expeditions.

Stelis genychila like most Stelis species has flattish flowers with three larger sepals, forming a triangle, and much smaller petals and lip in the centre. See if you can spot the parts of the flower in the close up.IMG_1251

We love the effect of the massed small flowers of Stelis although Stelis genychila has some of the biggest flowers of the 20 species of Stelis we have in our collection.

The species comes from cloud forest in Colombia and so we grow it in cool Americas where it looks as though it wants to grow into a specimen plant.


365 days of orchids Рday 18 РMasdevallia trigonopetala 

This is one of our smaller Massevallias. The plant is about 5cm across and produces gorgeous 1cm waxy, long lasting flowers in the early spring.

The species is native to cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia and so we grow it cool and moist throughout the year. It seems to be particularly happy mounted on cork where its flowers grow horizontally and look straight at you.


365 days of orchids – day 17 – Adenoncos parviflora

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Joe here again with another tiny orchid, Adenoncos parviflora. This little thing comes from South East Asia and Malaysia where it grows in low montane and hill forest and so we grow it in Warm Asia.

The flower is tiny but very attractive as long as you have good eye sight or a macro lens. We guess it must be pollinated by a gnat or a tiny ant as it is close to the stem.

We grow this species on a small piece of cork bark as you can see in the photo. This shows the plant off in a natural way and stops it getting smothered by moss. We spray it with water once a day.