One orchid we are pleased to feature in our display today is Dendrobium chrsotoxum (above)
This wonderful dendrobium has the brightest of golden flowers with a large orange blotch on the lip.
The golden flowers of the species always transport me to the remarkable forests of the Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos.
Dendrobium chrysotoxum is native to seasonally dry forest monsoon forests in South East Asia and we found it in several locations at around 1000m, on the Bolaven Plateau, around Paksong in Southern Laos. Plants were mostly growing on the trunk and lower branches of large trees in good light as shown on the photo below.
In cultivation we replicate the natural habitat by growing plants warm and wet in the summer in Warm Asia but give a cooler and much dryer winter in the top of Cool Americas. We find that baskets are ideal for this rewarding species that gives an immense amount of flower for the size of the plant.
Congratulations to the our setup team of students and adult volunteers for a hard days work in the heat of the Kibble Palace to set up a stunning display of orchids ready for this weekends orchid fetival.
The organisers have been fantastic and the historic glasshouse is packed with wonderful displays by Orchid Societies from across the UK.
We hope to see lots of our orchid friends tomorrow (old and new)
Our display and sales plants are now safely stored at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens ready for today. – we will post details here.
One plant that has flowered just in time is Coelogyne velutina with its gorgeous pendulous flower spikes.
Coelogyne velutina has a lot in common with other warm growing species with long pendulous flower stems such as Coelogyne tomentosa, Coelogyne pulverula and Coelogyne swaniana but is very distinct in the colour of the flowers that turn from creamy-salmon to a deep salmon pink after opening. The Photograph below shows flowers that have been out for two weeks (pink) and one day (cream)
The flowers are relatively long lasting if kept dry and not bruised, and the species is very free flowering and so a dramiatic display is guaranteed. We grow the plant in Warm Asia (min 17C) although it could grow a little cooler as the species is native to lower montane forests in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia from 900-1950m. We find that the species enjoys plenty of water throughout the year.
We have some magnificent miniatures for the journey to Glasgow today, especially our Platystele species.
Platystele schmidchenii is native to wet forests from Peru to Colombia from 1000 to 2400m altitude and is rather extraordinary for the enormous amount of flower it produces on upright stems held well clear of the 2cm long leaves.
Our plants seem to be doing well mounted but I am sure they would also be happy in pots or baskets. The species is closely related to Platystele misasiana (below) that is also going to Glasgow, but with longer spikes and slightly larger brown and red flowers.
The species is at home in our Cool Americas section (min12C) with daily spraying.
Gathering plants for our display in Galsgow this weekend we are pleased to have Dendrobium densiflorum in flower.
Dendrobium densiflorum has to be one of the most dramatic orchids we grow, and we have been fortunate to see it flowering its natural habitat too. In Sikkim the species grows at around 1000m where it lives as an epiphyte generally in tall semi-evergreen trees with little moss as shown below. The high end of its range overlaps the lower end of Dendrobium nobile’s range and we have seen both species flowering together during April just as they do in our greenhouse,
We grow out plants mounted with heavy watering in the summer. This is one of the plants that section hops in the greenhouse to replicate its natural habitat. In the summer it grows its new pseudobulbs rapidly and we find it a home in Warm Asia where heat and heavy watering help it to grow long bulbs. Its native Sikkim becomes quite cool at 1000m in winter and so we move it for a fairly dry rest in Coll Asia from November until February. We then move it back to warm where the change in climate usually induces rapid flower development, taking about six weeks after the move.
Plants are very long lived and flower from older pseudobulbs so patience is required to grow a specimen – but it is well worth it as shown by the lovely specimen in the forests of Sikkim