365 days of orchids – day 603 – Dendrobium stellare

This is a small growing Dendrobium species native to Java where it grows in cool wet forests from 1600-2100m altitude.

The name refers to the star like flowers – if you look from underneath – and these are produced from old leafless pseudobulbs making a plant that will become better and better with time as it matures. This is its first flowering at Writhlington and it does seem rather charming. We are really pleased that the public will have a chance to see it at the Bristol University Botanic Gardens, Bee and Pollination Festival this weekend.

The flowers of the species are characteristic for bird pollination and in its native Java this would be honeyeaters.

We grow the species mounted and water throughout the year.


365 days of orchids – day 601 – Masdevallia don quijote

This dramatic flower belongs to Masdevallia don quijote. This species is quite a small plant (12cm leaves) but has very large flowers on long stems. It is rather whimsically named after the character Don Quixote in the novel by Miguel de Cervantes because the dorsal sepal looks  like a lance and the lateral sepals like the bow legs of the old knight. (Quijote is the Spanish spelling)

The species is endemic to Ecuador where it is found between 1000 and 1700m in damp forest. Flower stems produce a succession of flowers over a long period so don’t cut stems until they finally turn brown.


365 days of orchids – day 600 – Maxillaria acuminata

For our 600th day we have a species we have not featured previously. This small growing Maxillaria is native to South America from Venezuela to Peru and grows in wet forest from 450-2400m. The plant has a scrambling nature and so we find it does well mounted as long as it can be kept cool and wet (this means drenching daily and not getting too dry by the next day)

The flowers are about 3cm across and a well grown plant produces them in profusion.



365 days of orchids – day 599 – Stelis lapoi

With the Bristol University Bee and Pollination Festival just a week away it is time to start checking which orchids will be good to go. One that will be at its peak is Stelis lapoi which has more flower spikes on this August than ever before.

Stelis lapoi is one of our larger Stelis species with leaves reaching 20cm and long flower stems with partially opening 1cm flowers. The flowers bloom all together and when several stems flower together they look very attractive. We expect this plant to be full of flower until around Christmas.

The species is native to Ecuador and enjoys conditions in our Cool Americas section. We find it does well in a basket.