Some orchids pack an amazing display of flowers and this Brazillian oncidium fills its corner of the greenhouse with clouds of yellow flowers from March right through until the late autumn. In a good year we get 12 months of flowers!
This Brazillian species has recently been transferred from Oncidium to Gomesa along with many of the Brazillian oncidiums. It is native the the Mata Atlantica forests running along the Atlantic Coast of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. It is found from as an epiphyte from coastal marshes up to 1200m and adapted to the seasonal dry period by growing a mass of roots. We grow the species mounted as it has something of a climbing habit with each pseudobulb growing above the previous one. It regularly attaches itself to walls, supports, shading, other plants pots etc but we always forgive its naughty behaviour and admire the flowers.
It is a reliable tough species and delivers real impact each summer with masses of small yellow flowers on branched flower spikes as shown in the photographs. We have had this species in our collection since the start and it is one we would never be without. It grows warm or cool. The species has been used extensively in breeding hybrid Oncidiums, and passes on its free flowering habit.
We have seen similar species in Brazil where the mass of yellow oncidium flowers in the canopy can be seen hundreds of metres away, across a valley.
For our 1300th orchid of the day we have a lovely smaller flowered Cattleya species.
Cattleya forbesii is a bi-foliate (two leaved) Cattleya that comes from Brazil. It is found as a lithophyte or epiphyte in coastal forest in the Mata Atlantica – a habitat that has largely disappeared in the past 200 years. It therefore enjoys being warm and bright but given plenty of water during the summer growing season. Our plants hang in baskets in our Warm Americas section.
The flowers are quite variable in shades of green, yellow and brown and are around 7cm across but are very attractive and well grown plants can produce six flowers per spike, and this year we have five on our spike.
The finial catch up orchid is this reliable and easy to grow Coelogyne.
There are always Coelogynes flowering in the school greenhouse and this species always flowers during the summer holiday.
Unusually, Coelogyne schultesii has a wonderful habit of flowering for several years from each flower spike, a habit it shares with a small number of other species from section prolifera, and this gives a fantastic display from mature plants.
After flowering the flower spikes take a ten month rest before extending again for the next year’s flowers. The longest we have had is four years of flowering from one stem.
We have seen this species in forest above Gangtok in Sikkim, and Kalimpong in West Bengal, where it grows in cool, wet, evergreen, monsoon forest on mossy trunks and branches.To match this habitat we grow the species in our Cool Asia section (minimum 10C) and keep it well watered throughout the year and remember not to cut off the flower spikes.
We have found four more of these plants for the online shop.
Several of our orchids give a second flowering away from their main flowering season and Dendrobium thyrsiflorum is one of them. This is our largest plant of the species and it flowered well in April but has thrown eight summer spikes for us to enjoy in the last week of school.
This majestic species is native to Eastern Himalayas and South East Asia. We have seen it on school expeditions to Laos growing in the tops of tall trees in evergreen and semi deciduous forest at around 1000m where it experiences warm wet summers and a dryer cooler winter.
To reflect the natural habitat we grow the species in Warm Asia during the summer but move it to cool Americas for the winter which encourages perfect flowering in the spring as well as this summer bonus.
As the website was down for three days we have three catch up orchids today to maintain our record of a flowering orchid from the greenhouse every day of the year (now well into our forth year)
The first catch up orchid is this fascinating little bulbophyllum with a really attractive string of pearls style growth habit.
The species native to Malaysia, Java and Borneo and we saw a number of similar species in Sarawak on the trunks and lower branches of trees in lowland forests. These forests have year round rainfall but plants dry out between storms. We grow the species mounted and it produces dangling stems of small single leaved pseudobulbs and flowers several times a year from the base of the pseudobulbs.
The flowers are small but an attractive dark red and they a well worth a closer look.