Barkeria spectabilis – 365 days of orchids – day 1624

A regular highlight of the summer is the flowering of our Barkeria spectabilis plants. This is one species that always attracts attention from visitors with its large delicate butterfly pollinated flowers.

This species is found in the wild in Mexico, Guatemala and El  Salvador in dryish oak forest from 1200m to about 2000m. We grow it with a minimum temperature of 15 degrees C mounted on a cork slab in our Warm Americas section.

The natural habitat indicates it could be grown cool (down to about 12 degrees) but our plants seem to appreciate the heat. It flowers in the early summer as the first of our Barkeria speices each year.

We have tried growing the species in pots but we the roots have always suffered from rots and the plants have struggled as a result. On cork bark mounts the roots are wonderful and last for years, so we will always grow plants mounted.


Gomesa crispa – 365 days of orchids – day 1623

This little orchid may not have the intense flower colour of yesterday’s Cochlioda noezliana but it rivals any species in terms of floriferousness.

This rewarding species comes from Brazil and we found it growing abundantly in the forests around Macae de Cima in our expeditions in 2000 and 2005. Gomesa crispa is a pioneer species, meaning that it is one of the first epiphytes to establish in regrowth forest. As soon as humidity is high enough for moss to grow at the base of the trunks of young trees, the plant will establish in this moss as a very low level epiphyte just 10cm off the ground. It also grows in more mature forest and in elfin forest on mountain ridges.

The flowers are a yellow/green colour but very attractively crisped (hence the name) and a healthy plant produces a very long spikes and usually two spikes from each bulb (see photo)

We have grown this species successfully in both Cool Americas and Warm Americas but we find it does best grown in Cool Americas which is similar to its natural habitat and enjoys growing in a small basket where it is a little dryer than some of the surrounding plants. The very extensive root system also reflects an ability to cope with dryer conditions.

The photo here from our 2005 trip to Brazil shows the natural habitat for the species in relatively open regrowth forest with young trees.


Cochlioda noezliana – 365 days of orchids – day 1622

If you like brightly coloured orchids then this is a star performer.

Orchid species have evolved some amazing colours to attract their pollinators and Cochlioda noezliana (also known as Oncidium noezlianum) is one of the most arresting with the bright scarlet flowers tinged with violet and yellow around the column – attracting hummingbirds.

Cochlioda noezliana is native to the cloud forests of Colombia that has been a major influence on orchid breeding since its discovery. It is the orchid species behind the red in many of the red orchids hybrids sold around the world today in the Oncidineae subtribe.

This species has a reputation as not the easiest to grow, but we find it straight forward if you stick to the cool moist conditions of its cloud forest home (our cool Americas section) where it is found from 2000-3500m altitude. We find that the species does particularly well in baskets – so damp but very free draining – and baskets also show off the arching flower spikes.



Pleurothallis amparoana – 365 days of orchids – day 1621

This little orchid is another of our favourites.

Pleurothallis amparoana is native to wet montane forest in Costa Rica and Panama from 1200 to 1800m altitude and is unusual in the extremely furry flowers. We grow the species with most of our Pleurothallids in Cool Americas and find it particularly enjoys a small basket where we can keep it damp all year but with good drainage.

The resemblance of the flowers to furry toilet seats has resulted in us all calling this the furry toilet orchid – what do you think?



Summer Orchid Evening 12th July 2021 (4pm to 7pm)

Our first public event since December 2019 will be our Summer Orchid Evening on Monday 12th July.

The evening will be open from 4pm until 7pm with lots to see and do. We will have our student orchid growers and adult volunteers on hand in our four zones.

Zone 1 – The Orchid Houses

  • come and have a guided tour of our collection of over 1000 orchid species
  • buy orchids and sundries including several species we have never sold before
  • treasure hunt for kids and adults

Zone 2 – The orchid propagation laboratory

  • a tour of our propagation facilities and growth rooms
  • have a go at lab propagation in one of our laminar flow cabinets

Zone 3 – The Orchid House Lawn

  • refreshments
  • orchid repotting service

Zone 4 – Talk Zone

  • Come and hear about our expeditions to Sarawak, the amazing forests, and our work with our wonderful partners (Sarawak Orchid Society and MRSM School Kuching)

There is plenty of parking on site, signs will guide you to the Orchid Houses for a warm welcome and an evening of orchids.

Tickets are £2 on the door and every visitor will be given an orchid in-vitro to take away.

Please let your friends know about the Summer Orchid Evening and feel free to print or share this poster