365 days of orchids – day 529 – Lockhartia lunifera


This is an unusual Central and South American member of the Oncidium family . It grows long stems of overlapping short pointed leaves similar to a group of unrelated Dendrobiums for Asia.

The clusters of long lasting flowers emerge from between the leaves and several year’s stems flower together.

We have seen this species growing in wet evergreen forest along rivers in Costa Rica at 1400m altitude but it can be found up to 2600m from Mexico in the north to Colombia in the South.

We grow this species mounted and in pots but mounted plants present best as the stems develop a pendulous habit over time.

 Lockhartia oerstedii in Costa Rica


365 days of orchids – day 528 – Prosthechea prismatocarpa


This wonderful species from Central America is a large growing member of the cattleya family that produces long spikes of dramatic flowers. The flowers are butterfly pollinated with the pink section of the lip the perfect shape for a large butterfly to grab hold of.

We have two varieties of the species; a smaller, wide flowered clone shown above that is spreading in its habit, and a larger flowered more upright clone with taller narrower flowers, shown below.

This clone that we have had since 1995 was until recently one very large specimen but is now split into about twenty strong divisions. Look out for it at the Malvern Show.

We have seen this species growing in Costa Rica where we found it in tall remnant trees on cloudy ridges at around 1500m. The trees had Masdevallia rolfeana growing on their trunks and, not surprisingly, we find that the two species do well close to each other in our Cool Americas section but with Prosthechea prismatocarpa growing a little brighter and dryer as it grows higher in the Coata Rican trees.



365 days of orchids – day 527 – Aerides odorata


We are at Malvern today and must finish our display for judging at 5pm. Centre stage is our massive Aerides odorata shown here in the greenhouse where it somehow didn’t look as big as it did when we tried to get it into the van.

The species is native to the Himalayas where we have seen it growing in open lowland forest in Arunachal Pradesh on tall trees.

We grow the species in Warm Asia hanging from a basket and watered well throughout the year.

By yesterday evening the tall plants were all positioned on trees at the back of the display and there will be more updates throughout the show.

Big thanks to Garthe for making this show possible – and his amazing Landrover and trailer.


365 days of orchids – day 526 – Micropera rostrata


We are excited to be taking some really big orchid specimens to the Malvern International Orchid Show at the Three Counties Show this evening (look out for news updates). One of our specimens in this lovely warm growing species from the Himalayas.

We currently have a large number of dramatic orchid species related to Vanda in Warm Asia. Micropera rostrata is native to Assam and the Eastern Himalayas where it grows pendulously in warm forest that has very wet summers and a dryer winter.

We find that in cultivation the species enjoys constantly warm conditions in Warm Asia and we keep it watered throughout the year as the species never really stops growing. Summer flowering is very reliable indicating daylight length is the flowering trigger.

The species was originally included in Aerides which makes sense from the way that it grows and flowers but the flowers them selves have a very unusual and distinctive lip and column leading to the very appropriate name rostrata which means ‘beaked’.

We have had the plant for lcose to twenty years and it has taken a while to start branching and producing multiple spikes but it is now a real spectacle.


365 days of orchids – day 525 – Laelia purpurata

This wonderful species is the national flower of Brazil (Good choice) . It is found as an epiphyte in open forest up to around 1000m where it experiences a warm wet summer and a cool dryer winter. With us it reliably flowers in June and the greenhouse where we keep the large plants hanging high in Warm America with a minimum temperature of 15C and good light in baskets of large bark which allows lots of air spaces for the thick and abundant roots.

The variety shown above is ‘venosa’ referring to the dark pink veins and is a very striking plant.

We have several clones of this species and a check on the internet shows that there is a fantastic diversity of coloured varieties available. We have also found this a great species to raise from seed as the seedlings are really vigorous and plants usually reach flowering size four years from de-flasking.