365 days of orchids – day 367 – Scaphosepalum ovulare


This species is new to our website and is a true miniature with leaves less than 1cm long forming a tight clump and 2mm egg shaped little flowers (the basket shown is 10cm diameter). The species is endemic to Ecuador where it is found from 600-1200m implying a need for the warmer end of our conditions in Cool Americas. The flower spikes produce a succession of flowers and tend to be pendulous and so growing the species mounted may make more sense next time we divide the plant.


365 days of orchids – day 366 – Prosthechea vitellina – and Happy New Year

Happy New Year from all of us here at the Writhlington Orchid Project. As you can see 365 days of orchids will continue this year with an orchid in flower every day of 2018 although we will include species included in 2017 as well as species new to the blog.

2018 is a massive year for the project with highlights being the European Orchid Show in Paris from 22nd-25th March, The London Orchid show from 5th-7th April and or course we host the British Orchid Show and Congress at School from 2-4th November.

Back to today’s post – Prosthechea vitellina is one of our most startling orchids with its very bright orange flowers, a colour not common amongst our plants. The plant is native to cool pine and oak forest in the mountains of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua but we find it does best for us in Warm Americas with good light but well watered throughout the year. It has many features that identify it as humming bird pollinated – bright orange flowers, no scent and flowers well clear of the foliage to allow easy access for birds on the wing. The dark pollen cap shows the point for beak access to the nectar. The leaves have an unusual grey waxy coating which is presumably protection from the sun and to prevent water loss.






365 days of orchids – day 365 – Brassia verrucosa


We have made it – 365 different orchid species, one a day, blogged when in flower in our collection. During the year we have had over 33,000 visits to our website as well as our followers on Twitter and Facebook so we do hope that you have enjoyed the journey as much as we have at school.

Please let us know what you have enjoyed and any requests for next year. We have already had lots of people asking us to continue and we will be carrying on in 2018 with an orchid a day although some of them will be species that featured in 2017.

365 days has been great for the orchid project as we now have a really good data base of our orchids, we have students that have developed research skills, photographic skills and a whole lot of knowledge – a book maybe? It was also lovely at Orchid Christmas that our visitors could ask if we had any plants of …. available that they had seen on the blog, it is always worth asking.

So back to Brassia verrucosa. This species is commonly known as the spider orchid and has the most wonderful long spidery petals. It also has a relationship with a white spider in the wild. The spider hides camouflaged on the lip and catches insects attracted to the flower.

The plant is native to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as Venezuela and grows as an epiphyte in seasonally wet forest from 900 to 2400m. For us the species does best in Warm Americas where it is hung up for good light but is kept really wet during the summer growing season to build up the massive pseudobulbs that deliver the long arching sprays of flowers. Our plant this year has five spikes and as you can see rather dwarfs Naiya and Ed when they pick it up.

The name refers to the verrucose or warty lip with rather intriguing green warts on the creamy white ground.


365 days of orchids – day 364 – Pleurothallis sp. baeza

This very attractive Pleurothallis is a bit of a mystery. It was donated to us with the name baeza which is a town in Ecuador but not a recognised orchid species. We therefore assume that the species is native to the cloud forests around Baeza but any help on a positive identification would be appreciated.

The plant is robust with 20cm stems and thick 15cm leaves that produce these delightful sprays of closely packed flowers. Along with most of our pleurothallis species this plant lives in our Cool Americas section, cool and wet throughout the year.

This species is our 26th Pleurothallis species in 365 days reflecting the wonderful diversity of the genus and the general diversity of our Cool Americas section that has contributed more than double the species of any other section to 365 days. It continues to surprise me that tropical visitor attractions (such as the tropical Conservatory in Roath Park, Cardiff, that I visited last week) are kept over hot and over humid, and contain the limited diversity that appreciates those conditions. The greatest tropical diversity is in the cool and airy mountains of South and Central America, Asia and Africa. Why not make a New Year’s resolution to go and visit one of these areas in 2018.