One of our plants of Darwins Comet Orchid – Angraecum sesquipedale from Madagascar – is about to open its flower. For the past month we have been watching the spur below the bud get longer…and longer …and longer. Today it went past 30cm on Joe’s ruler – we need a longer ruler!
This is Masdevallia decumana that featured as day 86 at the end of March and has just started its autumn flowering (twelve buds still to open). Another species that flowers twice a year for us at Writhlington and the perfect thing to brighten up a Monday morning.
Octomeria grandiflora is a species we not be without. It is native to Brazil and we have seen it flowering in forests around Macae de Cima in Rio State growing amongst moss on the trunks of trees in humid primary forest. It appreciates shade and regular watering although we find it does well both mounted or in pots.
The flowers are about 2cm across which seems rather small for ‘grandiflora’ but for an Octomeria species 2cm is huge! We find the species is almost always in flower but gives its main blooming in the autumn.
As part of the Writhlington School Lecture Series we have a scientific evening for the public centred on the orchid project (see poster) The evening kicks off at 6pm with a lecture in the Mendip Building followed by opportunities to explore the laboratory techniques underpinning the project and the conservation lessons learnt over the past twenty years or so. E-mail Emma Pascoe at [email protected] to reserve your free tickets.
At time of year we find several Trisetella species coming into flower. All of them a re miniatures and all spectacular in different ways.
Trisetella scobina is a tiny plant with leaves just 15mm long that over time form a a little clump on the cork mount. Each autumn the clump produces long thin flower spikes that produce very large (in comparison) flowers dominated by a deep red synsepal and long yellow tails. The flower spikes will produce several flowers successively over a long period so don’t cut them off until they are old and dead.
This species is a cloud forest endemic found in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from in forests up to 2000m. We only grow the species mounted because of its size but find it a relatively straight forward species if kept well watered and shaded.