Cleisocentron gokusingii – 365 days of orchids – day 1616

We have two Cleisocenton species and Cleisocentrom gokusingii is smaller growing and smaller flowered than Cleisocentrom merrillium (below)

Both of these remarkable orchids are endemic to Mount Kinabalu, on Borneo, where they grows in wet evergreen forest between 1000 and 2000m. The species both have striking flowers greyish, blue flowers with a purple stripe at the top of the spur and field observations show that the flowers are ant pollinated which explains the clustered flowers on very short spikes. The flowers of our Cleisocentron gokusingii are darker and bluer than Cleisocentron merrilium.

The close up of gokusingii above shows the delightful little flowers – I would be very attracted if I was an ant from Mt Kinabalu!

We grow the species in small baskets from which the plants grow in a relaxed upright fashion. Plants seem very at home in our Warm Asia section with a minimum of 17C with some shade, throughout the year, amongst other species native to the amazing forests of Kinabalu.


Coelogyne mossiae – 365 days of orchids – day 1615

Happy bank holiday Monday. Today we have a species that is new to 365 days of orchids. Coelogyne mossiae is a species from Southern India where it is found as an epiphyte or lithophyte in subtropical forests from 2300-2700m so this is a cool growing orchid.

We find that Coelogyne mossiae is a tough orchid with thick leathery leaves and round, stout pseudobulbs. The flowers are very fragrant, long lasting and bourn on short spikes.



Bulbophyllum purpascens -365 days of orchids- day 1614


To complete our week of May flowering orchids that we have seen on our expeditions we have this lovely little Bulbophyllum. 631259

Bulbophyllum purpurascens is a relatively common species in Sarawak and we came across the species in several reserves in Borneo. It has just opened its flowers in the greenhouse this morning and it reminds me of the canopy walkway in Mulu National Park, Sarawak.

In October 2019 students enjoyed a 400m journey through the tree tops of Mulu’s diverse lowland rainforest. If you missed our reports at the time some of the best bits are here: Mammals,  Insectsreptiles and amphibians and Paphiopedilum sanderianum

High above the forest floor and the rivers below we found orchids and Pygmy Squirrels. One of the orchids was today’s Bulbophyllum purpurascens (below) growing on the timber frame of the walkway towers.

This pretty little bulbophyllum has an unlikely name meaning the purple bulbophyllum but this refers to the purplish colour of the leaves not the light yellow flowers!

The species is native to Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia where it grows as an epiphyte in evergreen montane forest from around 900-1700 m and we find it does well in our Warm Asia section (min 17C) either mounted, in pots, or like the plant flowering today, in baskets.

I am delighted to note that some of the world’s more common orchid species, like todays orchid, are also the most lovely 🙂



Coelogyne nitida – 365 days of orchids – day 1613

For the forth day running we feature an orchid we have had the pleasure of seeing growing in its natural habitat.

We have two distinct clones of this lovely orchid, Coelogyne nitida ‘limoniana’ (above) with a very light yellow blotch on the lip, and the more common variety with a golden yellow blotch (below)

This is a cool growing species that we have seen abundantly in Sikkim and in Arunachal Pradesh. In our experience it grows in evergreen and semi-evergreen forest from about 1000m up to 2500m mostly on the trunks and lower branches and often with moss and ferns, The photos below show the species flowering in late April near Tawang right in northern Arunachal pradesh.

The Cymbidium growing with the Coelogyne is Cymbidium elegans (an autumn flowering species I am sure we will feature in October)

In cultivation we replicate the species’ cool wet habitat and find it grows best with a minimum of 6C in our Warm Temperate zone and we water well throughout the year. This is a great species for a cool greenhouse, conservatory or a cool room in the house – I grow a lovely plant in my East facing bathroom window.

The flowers are a little later than usual for us this year as they are usually perfect for Chelsea.


End of term

We have reached the end of a challenging term at school especially for Year 11s and Year 13s who have been sitting assessments for teacher assessed grades. It has been a busy term in the lab and we have just added a few more flasks to our online shop.

There will be more orchids for sale on the shop when we get back from the half term holiday.

I would like to congratulate the wonderful orchid project students from Year 11 and Year 13, who are leaving school today, for all their successes, and thank them for their amazing work for the project.