365 days of orchids – day 313 – Oncidium manuelariasii (Odontoglossum manuelariasii)


This is another of the species traditionally included in the genus Odontoglossum but now moved to Oncidium following genetic analysis. The species is endemic to Peru where it grows in cool forests at around 2600m. The species is fairly recently described and can also be found under the name Odontoglossum ariasii. The species is notable for its long upright flower spikes which produce branches towards the base and so deliver an impressive amount of flower.

We look forward to growing this plant into a specimen and seeing what it can do when really grown well. It is at home in our Coll Americas section and kept moist all year.

The related species of Oncidium crocidipterum is now flowering properly in the greenhouse. We featured a plant with two flowers on day 207 but this is how the species should look with several spikes each with ten or more flowers.


Seed sowing for year 7s

This afternoon the Mendip Propagation Lab was a hive of activity as the Orchid Project team sowed orchid seeds from recently harvested seed pods. Year 7s Naiya and Charlie learnt to sow seed for the first time and did a great job of doing this challenging work safely and accurately.

Seed sowed today included some of our favourite species including:

 Cymbidium devonianum

 Cymbidium tigrinum

 and Coelogyne barbata

Fingers crossed, seedlings will be available to buy in the summer of 2019


365 days of orchids – day 312 – Cattleya alaorii

Astonishingly this is the 19th Cattleya species to appear in 365 days and there are still more species in bud! We didn’t realise we had such a lovely Cattleya collection.

Cattleya alaorii is one of the smaller growing species (previously included in Laelia) with large flowers for the size of the plant. The species is native to Brazil where it is found as an epiphyte in mossy primary forest between 200 and 600m altitude. Conditions here will be warm throughout the year and we find the species does best in our Warm Americas section (Min 15C) and mounted to suit the small buy scrambling habit of the plant. Although the habitat is reported as mossy we find that plants much prefer bare cork bark for the roots to attach to but we make a point of spraying plants daily to avoid them drying too much.



365 days of orchids – day 311 – Cymbidium dayanum


Cymbidium dayanum is a very graceful warm growing Cymbidium native to lowland forests from Sikkim in the west to Japan in the east and south through South East Asia to the Philippines and Malaysia. Plants are reported to grow low down on trunks in evergreen forests where conditions will be shaded and humid. Compared to most other warm growing Cymbidium species C. dayanum has thin and delicate leaves reflecting the habitat it has evolved to suit. Most warm growing cymbidiums have heavy thick leaves and are adapted to cope with dryer conditions and this difference needs to be noted in Cymbidium dayanum care. We grow plants in constant shade in our Warm Asia section and keep plants watered throughout the year. Plants respond by flowering profusely as shown in the photographs and the flowers are long lasting and fragrant.

The flower spikes are sharply pendulous and so we move plants onto a shelf once buds begin to burst.


Orchids that flower twice a year

 Tricholglottis pusilla today

 March 20th (Day 79)

One of the really useful things to come out of our 365 days of orchids is producing an accurate record of flowering times and those wonderful orchid species that flower more than one each year. A great example is Trichoglottis pussila (above) that featured in March during its spring flowering and is in flower again today during its autumn flowering.