Some orchid species have the wonderful habit of flowering twice a year and Coelogyne pulverula does so for us flowering in the Spring and Autumn.
The species is native to Malaysia, Thailand and Borneo where it grows on the trunks and lower branches of large trees in evergreen forest from 300 to 1800m. We find that the species enjoys growing warm but well shaded and kept moist throughout the year. We find that leaves can become damaged by bright sun or by plants being allowed to become dry for long periods.
We saw a number of Coelogynes in the forests of Sarawak during our July visit including Coelogyne motleyi in flower and most were growing in shaded spots in the lower branches or on the trunks of trees where the large leaves are protected from too much intense equatorial sunshine.
The flowers do bruise quite easily and so it is worth moving a plant in spike to a safe place, like ours in the photo, for the flower spikes to grow where they won’t touch things or be knocked. We hope that the flowers will still be in good condition for the Pollination festival at Bristol University Botanic Gardens next weekend – I hope we see lots of our website followers there.
Our orchids are really enjoying the summer weather and their active growing season as shown by our ‘specimen miniature’ here with lots of fresh new green leaves and a flush of new flowers. Adononcos parviflora is one of our most reliable miniatures is this tiny vandaceous species from South East Asia and Malaysia.
The species grows in low montane and hill forest, in South East Asia and Malaysia, from 300-1300m and so it is very at home in our Warm Asia section. We grow this species on a small piece of cork bark as you can see in the photo. This shows the plant off in a natural way and stops it getting smothered by moss in a pot. We spray it with water once a day and in the summer the water contains feed at around 400 microseimens.
The flower is tiny but very attractive as long as you have good eye sight or a macro lens. We guess it must be pollinated by a gnat or a tiny ant as it is close to the stem. Flowers are produced throughout the year and are always a point of interest. We have had this plant for many years now and it has become a multi-stemmed specimen which greatly extends the flowering period.
We have another new species for 365 days in this delightful Oncidium species from Mexico and Central America.
Oncidium incurvum is a medium sized plant but produces very long flower spikes and hundreds of deep pink and white flowers each 3cm across. The spikes re-flower after the first flush from side shoots that develop from the the base of the branches on the spike – an extraordinary feature that gives this species an exceptional amount of flower each year.
The species is found in cloud forests from 1300-2100m and so plant enjoy cool wet conditions although we find that good drainage in a basket grows better plants for us than pots due to the profuse roots produced.
The spikes are thin and flexible and so a decision has to be made whether to stake (as here) of to allow a naturally semi pendulous habit.
Another new species for 365 days is this tiny flowered species from Colombia.
The species is almost always in flower as the very long spikes produce flowers successively over several months. the individual flowers are just under 1cm across and have a lovely deep red lip that contrasts with the other pale petals and sepals.
The plant here is in a 3cm pot and the leaves are 5cm long making the plant very compact apart from the very long spikes.
The species grows in wet forests from 1600-2100m and we find it is a vigorous grower in pots baskets or mounted.
I spotted an Elephant Hawk Moth in my garden this week which reminds me of the fantastic diversity of moths found in tropical orchid habitats. We have seen some terrific moths in the South America and tropical Asia and lots of our orchid species are evolved for moth pollination. One common characteristic is flowers restricting the range of moths that can visit thier flowers and Epidendrum ciliare has a long spike on the end of the lip that would only allow the largest hawk moths with the longest tongues to reach the nectar – much as Angraecum and Aerangis species do with long spurs. Interestingly the species offers no reward for the moths and in common with many orchids relies on deceit pollination. Some interesting research indicates that the species produces a variety of scents presumably to aid with deceit pollination.
This attractive epidendrum species is found right through Central America and down through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Out of flower it looks very like a uni-foliate cattleya but soon shows it’s unique character when the flower spikes appear.
The species is found high in trees in warm forest from 500-1000m altitude and we find that the plant succeeds well mounted or in baskets of course bark where it can dry out rapidly between watering. In pots we have found it prone to rot in the new growth from being kept too wet. It also enjoys bright light.