Today we have the first flowering of this remarkable deep red flowered Cymbidium species. The plants are native to Borneo and found in Sabah in lowland forests. Cymbidium angustifolium is generally considered a synonym of Cymbidium dayanum which more usually red and white (see our plant flowering last year below)
Cymbidium dayanum has a very large range from Sikkim in the Himalayas through China, South East Asia, the Philippines and Borneo and so it would be a surprise if it was not a variable species. However to our eye Cymbidium angustifolium is rather significantly different from the Cymbidium dayanums that we have seen with much smaller and thinner leaves, smaller flowers, and a differently shaped lip, as well as the obvious colour difference.
Whether the plant is an extreme variant within the range of Cymbidium dayanum or a separate species doesn’t matter too much as both types are very beautiful, but we chose to keep our Cym. angustifolium separate and will produce seed from a selfing, avoiding crossing with the more typical striped form and losing the distinct features.
Our striped Cymbidium dayanum will be flowering again soon and so we can do a close comparison between flowers and plants when that happens.
We are counting down to our 1000th Orchid of the Day with a tour around the tropical world and our student expeditions through the medium of our September flowering orchids.
Our first tropical school expedition was to Brazil in 2000 as hosts of the Rio Atlantic Forest Trust and our first contact with the genus Cattleya in the wild.
Cattleya loddigesii grows near the Atlantic coast of Brail from 600-900m and was once common in the swampy forests along the regions rivers including the Rio Grande, Rio Tiete, Rio Pardo. Unfortunately much of this forest is now gone and in Brazil we drove through an area where the species had been recorded which is now treeless low grade pasture.
We have a few clones of Cattleya loddigesii and this is a smaller growing clone donated by a Wiltshire orchid grower around twenty-five years ago.
We find the species thrives in a basket hanging in the roof of Warm Americas where it gets lots of light and dries out between watering.
We have a third miniature in a row for you today with Dendrochilum filiforme. This is one of our smaller Dendrochilum species and in common with most of the genus it produces a pendant spike of delicate little fragrant flowers.
The species is native to the Philippines where it grows from 660-2250m altitude. We find that our plant does best cool and damp in our Cool Americas section (yes we know the Philippines isn’t in the Americas) as it enjoys the conditions we provide for our Masdevallias.
It was nice to have it with us at the Bristol University Bee and Pollination Festival as the species like many orchids is pollinated by tiny midges and not by bees that get all the credit and the festival – though would anyone go to a Midge and Pollination Festival?
I said yesterday that our miniatures at Bristol were really appreciated and here’s a second of those miniatures. Stelis stevensonii is a vigorous small growing plant that produces lots of spikes of well spaced little flowers typical of the genus.
This species is endemic to Ecuador and lives in wet forests at around 1600m. This is a warmer habitat than some of our species are adapted for making this species less fussy about warm days in the greenhouse and an easy plant to grow as long as it is kept well watered and shaded. The plant here is in a 3cm pot.
If you look closely at the flowers with a magnifying glass they have hairy edges to the sepals – an extra bonus for a rewarding orchid species.
One of the most popular features of our display at the Bee and Pollination Festival has been our tiny flowered orchids.
This charming miniature pleurothallis is native to the cloud forests of Costa Rica (as the name suggests) and Panama up to 1800m. We find it thrives in low light in our Cool Americas section both mounted and potted where it produces its sprays of small bright yellow flowers sporadically throughout the year.
We find that the species is slow growing but eventually makes a real specimen like this one.