365 days of orchids – day 363 – Ada brachypus


This is a miniature member of the Oncidium family and comes from the cloud forests of Ecuador where it grows in moss from 1200 to 2400m altitude. Plants grow to about 8cm high.

We find this plant does best in 3cm pots amongst miniature masdevallia species in Cool Americas where we keep it well watered throughout the year. The first picture shows the moss that naturally grows around the plant in these conditions.

The flowers are produced from maturing growths and, although small, plants quickly form clumps and so produce many flowers together to give a charming display. This is yet another example of the wonderful diversity of Orchid Species.


Bonus orchid – Masdevallia decumana x veitchiana

In the Orchid Project we grow a wide diversity of orchid species but we have a few hybrids that have arrived by various means. This plant was purchased as a seedling labelled Masdevallia decumana but on first flowering was clearly the hybrid between decumana and the orange flowered Nasevallia veitchiana. It is a small growing plant with very large flowers produced in profusion. We grow both the parents and it is always interesting to see how characters are passed from parent species to hybrid. Decumana has dominated on compact growth and large flowers while veitchiana has contributed most on colour.

Masdevallia decumana

  Masdevallia veitchiana


365 days of orchids – day 362 – Prosthechea bulbosa

This is another very fragrant Prosthechea species. The species is native to South Eastern Brazil where it grows as an epiphyte in cloud forest. It therefore enjoys growing cool and wet in our Cool Americas Section.

This is a small plant and, as with most Prosthecheas, small plants will bloom and produce short spikes with few flowers. A fully mature plant can produce a 12cm spike with fifteen flowers.

The scent is sweet and reminds me of play-doh. Flowers are long lasting and produced over a long season making this a very worthwhile plant to grow.


365 days of orchids – day 361 – Cattleya loddigesii var.alba

We haven’t had snow this week but how is this for a white Christmas?

Cattleya loddigesii is a bifoliate (two leaved) cattleya species from Brazil. The species grows near the Atlantic coast of Brail from 600-900m and was once common in the swampy forests along the regions rivers including the Rio Grande, Rio Tiete, Rio Pardo.

Loddigesii var.alba is a robust plant with cylindrical pseudobulbs 40cm high that produces a strong flower spike between the two thick leaves with around six large waxy flowers.

We find the species thrives in a basket hanging in the roof of Warm Americas where it gets lots of light and dries out between watering.


365 days of orchids – day 360 – Pleurothallis secunda (Corrected to Pleurothallis lindenii)

One of the first pleurothallis species to arrive in our collection in the early 1990s was Pleurothallis secunda. This is a medium sized plant that each Christmas produces a multitude of short pendulous flower stems that carry up to ten quite large (1.5cm) red and white flowers.

The species is found from Venezuela to Peru on the trunks of trees in wet forest. The habitat provides the key to successful culture where plants are straight forward as long as they are kept moist and shaded. To much sunlight results in the leaves turning pale and developing black blotches so mounted plants, especially, are grown low down.

Plants develop into large clumps but are easy to divide and propagate.