WSBEorchids

Coelogyne schultesii – 365 days of orchids – day 1984

There are always Coelogynes flowering in the school greenhouse and this species always flowers during July and August in our Cool Asia Section.

Unusually, Coelogyne schultesii has a wonderful habit of flowering for several years from each flower spike, a habit it shares with a small number of other species from section prolifera, and this gives a fantastic display from mature plants.

After flowering the flower spikes take a ten month rest before extending again for the next year’s flowers. The longest we have had is four years of flowering from one stem.

We have seen this species in forest above Gangtok in Sikkim, and Kalimpong in West Bengal, where it grows in cool, wet, evergreen, monsoon forest on mossy trunks and branches.To match this habitat we grow the species in our Cool Asia section (minimum 10C) and keep it well watered throughout the year and remember not to cut off the flower spikes.

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Myrmecophila humboldtii – 365 days of orchids – day 1983

This species is a July regular in the greenhouse.

Like its close relative Myrmecophyila tibicinis, Myrmecophila humboldtii has long spikes (this one is 1.2m long) with large flowers towards the top that open sequentially. The flowers have a sweet fragrance and sugary liquid around the buds presumably to feed the ants with which the plant associates.

We have seen lots of Myrmecophila tibicinis growing in Central America but Myrmecophila humboldtii is found in Venezuela and nearby islands (the Netherland Antilles). The species is native to hot drying lowland forests near the coast and we replicate these conditions by hanging the plant high in our Warm Americas section in a basket of course bark. The plant is then very little trouble apart from the need to drop it lower when it flowers to allow for the length of the spike.

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Maxillaria preastans – 365 days of orchids – day 1982

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We happily describe Maxillaria preastans as our moist reliable maxillaria. The species from Mexico and Central America is found between 1500 and 2000m altitude in humid evergreen forest and we find that it grows well both cool in Cool Americas (min 12C) and warm in Warm Americas (min 15C) as long as it is kept well watered throughout the year.

Single flowers are produced from the base of bulbs in summer and are large and showy with a distinctive black lip. Several flowers are produced from each bulb over a period of a few months making this a straight forward and rewarding species to grow. The flowers are long lasting and ensure a point of interest in the summer greenhouse.

We have noticed that wasps find our flowers particularly attractive and in the autumn when wasps become more common in the greenhouse several flowers get pollinated.

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Masdevallia pyxis – 365 days of orchids – day 1981

Summer is the time when Masdevallia pyxis can be relied upon to be in flower.

This is a small sized Masdevallia native to Peru that grows in cool forest around 2300m altitude where it grows as an epiphyte of lithophyte. It has thick rounded leaves and the flowers are produced in profusion on stems much shorter than the leaves. The colouring is similar to Masdevallia oreas and several other masdevallia species but each has their own character and we are very fond of pyxis because of its vigorous growth habit and cute little flowers.

We find that growing the species mounted or in a small basket shows of the flowers to their best but it grows very well in a small pot. We find that it works well to stand the pot on something that allows you to see under the leaves.

 

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Odontoglossum multistellare- 365 days of orchids – day 1980

Our orchid project students were the stars earlier in the week working with Dr David Roberts from Kent University, but today it this South American orchid species that is the star.

Odontoglossum multistellare certainly lives up to its name and every summer produces branched spikes of attractive, star shaped, flowers, and a small plant produces a lot of flower for its size. Our largest plant shown above has 300 flowers this year.

Odontoglossum multistllare is a cool growing species found in cloud forests at around 2000m altitude from Ecuador to Peru, and we grow our odontogloissums in baskets hanging in cool Americas (min 12C). The target to achieve really good plants seems to be to grow health roots and then keep the roots alive for years – this allows plants to make large bulbs that reward us with long spikes of these graceful flowers. Heavily watered baskets and a very open bark compost seems seems best for good root development in our conditions.

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