The star of the greenhouse this morning is a group of our mini-miniature trisetellas. Trisetella cordeliae which is really small both in terms of its leaves – just 10mm long and short spikes with small (but relatively large) attractive hairy pink flowers. The flower spikes produce a succession of flowers over a long period.
The species is endemic to Peruvian cloud forests and we treat it the same as other Trisetella – cool, damp and shaded.
We have had such an interesting time exploring the orchids of Sarawak and it is a reminder of other forests we have visited on school expeditions.
Oncidium longipes is a Brazilian species and we saw it growing in the forests around Macae de Cima in our school visits to Brazil in 2000 and 2006. It is restricted to primary forests and grows in the mid canopy amongst other epiphytes in dappled shade and high humidity.
We find the species really prefers to be mounted where it responds by clothing the mount in growths that burst into flower in the Autumn. Flower spikes usually produce between one and three flowers but they are large for the size of the plant as seen here.
We have grown our plants from flask (they flower two years out of flask) and they show considerable variation in colour and patterning.
We have returned from Borneo to the UK in Autumn – cold mornings and the last few golden leaves on the trees. In the greenhouse, however, the tropical weather continues and we have our autumn flowering species reaching their peak. Octomeria grandiflora is a reliable early November flowerer and all our plants are full of the small lemon yellow flowers.
This beautiful species is native to the Mata Atlantica cool cloud forests of Brazil and a species we found near Macae de Cima on our expeditions in 2001 and 2006 at around 1300m altitude.
The flowers are small but are produced in profusion. The grey-green thick leaves are also very attractive.
All of our plants have come from a single flask purchased from Equatorial Plants in 2001 and we regularly have small divisions for sale. The plants grow well in pots, baskets and mounted. We find that the mounted plants (such as these photographed) are the most floriferous but they suffer a little more with black spotting on the leaved from heat stress.
The flowers are short lived but produce a dramatic display with the small plants smothered in flowers.
‘Pulihara bunga orkid’ or ‘Saving Orchids’ is the headline of the Sarawak Tribune on Nov 1st – a great article on the project and its successes.
It is wonderful to know that this will be read across the state increasing awareness on orchid and conservation as well as the positive message of school students contributing to maintaining Sarawak’s biodiversity. Great photo too.
It is lovely to come home from an expedition and find that the greenhouse at school has been fantastically looked. A massive well dome to Lily, Ellie and Alex + families for all your hard work.
The greenhouse is full of plants in flower that were in bud when we left. One of these is Oncidium ornithorhynchum.
When grown well this species produces several spikes of long lasting flowers from each pseudobulb and so a great little display. It also flowers when quite a small seedling and so is a rewarding plant to grow from seed.
The species is native to Central America where it grows in humid forests up to 1500m altitude and though it seems not to be fussy about temperatures it does best for us in our Cool Americas Section. This plant is mounted on an old piece of Elder but it does well for us mounted or in pots.
Many orchid species are quite variable in flower colour and we have this species in a light pink and dark pink form. Both colour forms smell strongly of chocolate and so this is a very popular species at school – everyone loves chocolate.
This species has been used in breeding hybrids which also have the delicious chocolate scent.