Pleurothallis linearifolia – 365 days of orchids – day 1754

I stumbled on this wonderful miniature orchid while watering yesterday.


Some of our orchids are not much bigger than the moss that grows around them and Pleurothallis linearifolia is a true miniature species native to Brazil and Northern Argentina where it grows in cloud forest. Leaves are only 1cm long but flowers are relatively large and bourn in profusion every autumn.

We find plants do well mounted or in pots and baskets but we need to ensure that plants are not smothered by moss as the species really enjoys cool, wet, shaded conditions which really suits moss!

Despite its tiny size the species grows relatively quickly and will cover its cork mount. The flowers are also sweetly scented.



Cattleya dolosa – 365 days of orchids – day 1753

Rather aptly we have the snowy white flowers of Cattleya dolosa to go with our early Christmas plans in the greenhouse.

This cattleya species from Brazil was considered a natural hybrid from its discovery and first description in 1874. It was found growing with Cattleya walkeriana and was thought to be Cattleya walkeriana x Cattleya loddigessii or similar. Recent molecular studies have indicated that it is not a natural hybrid and is actually a species in its own right – hooray. Our plants are the alba form of dolosa.

It differs from Cattleya walkeriana by having flowers from the top of bulbs not from the base and is a much shorter growing plant than Cattleya loddigessii. The plant grows in dryish coastal conditions in Brazil and appreciates very good drainage in a basket (we find it hates growing in a pot) with little water during the winter but plenty in the summer.

The species enjoys life in the roof of our Warm americas section.

Cattleya waleriana and loddigessii below for reference.



Pleurothallis paliolata – 365 days of orchids – day 1752

The ‘little mouths’ of our Pleurothallis paliolatas are once again greeting us in our Cool Americas section – perhaps they want to sing carols now that we are preparing for orchid Christmas on Dec 10th.

This free flowering species arrived in our collection as an unexpected ‘weed’ on a different plant, and since the species propagates freely by keikis, we regularly have plants for sale at our online shop.

Pleurothallis palliolata is native to cool mountain forests in Costa Rica and Panama. We have seen closely related species growing in wet evergreen forest at 1400m on the Poas volcano in deep shade. We grow the species successfully both mounted and in pots and it has proved robust and straightforward to grow, so a good species to try if you are new to Pleurothallis.


Cattleya dormaniana- 365 days of orchids – day 1751

This morning we were greeted by the delicious spectacle of Cattleya dormaniana.

This small growing Brazilian species is native to a very restricted range in the Organ Mountains in Rio de Janiero state close to our base during our school expeditions to Macae de Cima..

The species has an interesting history as it didn’t fit with the original characteristics for cattleya  with 4 pollinia, as it has six or eight, despite being close in all other ways to the local bifoliate cattleya species, and so was called Laelia dormaniana (Laelia was defined as 8 pollinia). Since it has been realised that number of pollinia is fairly plastic in evolution, and not a good defining feature, and so Cattleya dormaniana it is.

The natural habitat of Cattleya dormaniana is very wet forest at 600-1000m close to the coast where the forest is heavily shrouded in mists. We visited this habitat on our school visits to Brazil and were struck by the dripping damp of the forest every morning even in the dry season. To recreate these conditions we grow the species in our Cool Americas section where the plant hangs in a basket and is watered most days giving damp but free drain ing conditions. The deep pink lip against the brown petals and sepals is a truly lovely colour combination.