Our lovely Psygmorchis pusilla is flowering again. This species 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 can be short lived but profusely flowering on short spikes that produce lots of flowers successively. The species was previously called Oncidium pusilla.
One of our most exciting orchids is this tiny species.
Oberonia miniata is a miniature flowered species native to Thailand and Malaysia where it grows in lowland forest. This oberonia species grows pendulous growths each year with short overlapping leaves and long terminal flower spikes of tiny yellow flowers in whorls.
Oberonia species are fascinating for their tiny flowers as well as their diverse growth patterns.
Oberonia species have been a significant component of the orchid flora we have observed in Sikkim, Laos and Arunachal Pradesh and they deserve more significance in collections however raising them from seed is made very challenging by the tiny flowers and tiny seed pods. We will be attempting to pollinate this plant this week – wish us luck.
We grow Oberonia miniata in Warm Asia in a basket and mounted to show off the pendulous habit.
We are busy potting at this time of year and dividing plants that have grown too big. It is a good chance to increase our stock of restrepias and these little orchids are always in flower.
Restrepia condorensis is a small growing species with long thin flowers in a startling pinky-red and a real show stopper. The species is endemic to Ecuador and grows in cool wet forests with the conditions we replicate in our Cool Americas section. We find that the species does well in pots and small baskets where it will turn into a ball or leaves covered in flowers.
We also hear that lots of our customers succeed with these plants in shaded spots in doors, in terrariums and even in reptile tanks!
Restrepias are also popular because they are easy to propagate by division or from leaf cuttings (put a leaf and its stem into a pot of moss and you will usually be rewarded with a new little plant), because of their floriferous nature and the fantastic spotting and striping on the flowers. As I said several species are in flower so perhaps we are heading towards a restrepia week.
Most of the orchids we grow at school are epiphytes (grow on trees) but this Jewel orchid is a terrestrial (grows in the ground) and is quite commonly available. Jewel orchids include a large number of terrestrial orchids prized for their patterned leaves although several, like this species, have attractive flower too.
Ludisia discolor is native to evergreen lowland forests across South East Asia and is reported from 70-1100m in shaded damp situations in leaf litter (growing in the ground often does not mean growing in soil). As a result plants prefer warm shaded conditions and plenty of water. We have seen advice to grow plants in potting compost but we use our standard bark mix with a little sphagnum moss.
Several jewel orchids are threatened by unsustainable collection for horticulture so sources should be checked carefully but Ludisia discolor is very easy from seed in the lab and plants in cultivation in the uk are seed raised.
We are pleased to see that Chloe has arrived in Kuching, Sarawak and has been met at the airport by our wonderful friends from the Sarawak Orchid Society (SARORSO). We are all looking forward to following her work over the next two months.