This mass of roots and small white flowers is Agreacum erectum. The species has been in flower for months and now it is mature flowers on and off throughout the year. The 1cm flowers are evolved for moth pollination in common with most species in the genus and are fragrant especially at night.
This unusual little species is found in riverine forests in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia from 1300-2350m altitude and so is a coolish growing species adapted for a relatively dry but humid environment.
We grow the species in Cool Americas (Min 12C) hanging on a long wire hook attached to the twig it once lived on! The plant lives up to its name and grows vertically with masses of roots and pretty little flowers along the climbing stem. It seems quite happy growing up its wire and it will be interesting to see how far it will grow.
Initially the plant did grow straight up as its name suggest, but now it has many growths and grows in all directions.
This remarkable orchid with enormous flowers (possibly the heaviest of orchid flowers) is Stanhopea tigrina. The plant showed is a ten year old seedling from our school propagation laboratory (it has been well worth the wait) and the photo with my hand shows the majesty of these flowers.
Stanhopea tigrina is a warm growing epiphytic species found in Mexico. It is a medium sized plant which produces a single leaf from each pseudobulb and produces a large pendulous flower spike. The flower spike carries 2-3 large pendulous flowers which are heavily scented and only last 2 days. Our plant in flower at the moment is the nigroviolacea variety, which has flowers which are more heavily marked than the normal variety but are no less fragrant.
We grow plants in baskets as the spikes grow downwards from the newest bulbs.
This pleurothallis is unlike any others we grow with flowers that look to me like little sea creatures like little octopuses?
The species is small growing with leaves up to 12 cm and the flowers held above the leaves on impossible looking thin filaments – a really fascinating plant. Each leaf produces flowers over several years and plants are usually in flower.
Pleurothallis gratiosa is endemic to Venezuela and grows in warm forest at around 1500m altitude. This habitat means that the species is straight forward in cultivation and although we grow it in our Cool Americas section (min 12C) it would be happy warmer and does not suffer summer heat stress.
We will be adding plants to our shop this week for those who want to add some sea creatures to their orchid collection.
A highlight of our warm Asia section is the startlingly bright pink flowers of Phalaenopsis pulchra. The flowers are unusually glossy – a real treat.
This warm growing epiphytic species native to the Philippines, is a small plant which produces a few brightly coloured flowers successively on a short spike hat gives flowers through the summer and the autumn so we will will have flowers until the end of november. The species also has the ability to produce longer spikes up to 60cm long and instead of bearing flowers they produces multiple keikis, which, in the wild, are used to produce a colony of plants on the host tree. For us the keikis give straight forward propagation material but we always wait until keikis have plenty of roots.
The natural habitat is hot and shaded and we keep plants in our warm Asia section (min 17C) although the species would appreciate a warmer minimum temperature. To compensate we hang the plants high in the greenhouse where temperatures are always a few degrees higher than down on the benches.
This is one of our larger growing Stelis species with leaves 15cm long and 25cm flower spikes of large (for a stelis) flowers.
Stelis reginae is endemic to Ecuador where it is found in wet cloud forest at 1800m. We therefore grow the species cool and wet all year. It has flowers with a very attractive pink edging against the cream ground colour and our large specimen flowers for many months over the summer and autumn.
We find that growing specimen plants of Stelis or Pleurothallis is easier in baskets than pots as the compost says in good condition for longer and the plants can form a natural ball rather than growing out of their pot.
We have some great divisions of this species coming on and we expect to offer them fro sale at the end of the summer holidays.