An indoor orchid today. Phalaenopsis bellina, Sarawak’s state flower. The plant shown is growing at home where it is filling my dining room with its strong rose fragrance. (yes it is unmistakably smells of sweet roses). As a plant that enjoys deep shade and warm temperatures it is well suited to indoor culture. It is on shelf facing bifold doors with an to the garden facing East.
This phalaenopsis species is found across Borneo and it grows it hot lowland forest in swamps or near rivers. Plants grow low in trees where it is often in deep shade. The species grows very attractive large undulating leaves and flower spikes that produce large fragrant flowers successively over a long period so the plant will be in flower now until late in the autumn.
Phalaenopsis bellina in Sarawak
Those of you who are fans of Platystele consorbrina (below) will be interested to hear about this closely related species.
Misera means insignificant which seems very harsh on this pretty miniature species found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. (Perhaps the English botanist John Lindley was having a bad day when he named it!)
The species has 1mm flowers that bloom successively on spikes over a long period. This means that plants are surrounded by a little cloud of flowers for most of the year.
The flowers are well worth a close look with a magnifying glass especially the contrasting salmon red lip. As with most of our miniatures from the cloud forests of South America this species thrives mounted and well watered in Cool Americas.
We have finished repotting every plant in our Cool Americas section (photo below) and it has given me the chance to check over all the plants. This lovely species has been in flower for the past 6 weeks but I realised I have not taken it down to photograph until today. Odontoglossum uroskinneri is a a dramatic species native to Central America that produces flower spikes up to 1m long that produces large flowers that open a few at a time over a long period. The flowers are 6cm across and long lasting and sweetly fragrant.
The species is named after an Englishman George Ure Skinner who was an orchid hunter and collector in Guatemala in the early 1800’s and who’s name is attached to the national flower of Guatemala – Lycaste skinneri and the national flower of Costa Rica – Guarianthe skinneri.
The species is reported as restricted to cool wet evergreen mountain scrub forest around 2000m altitude where it grows as a terrestrial or lithophyte in organic mater. The plant grows large pseudobulbs to support the large flower spikes. We find that the species enjoys growing in large baskets in a shaded spot in Cool Americas where we can keep it well watered though out the year. A special species.
We really enjoy the diversity that the genus Pleurothallis gives us.
This remarkable species from the cloud forests of Peru and Bolivia produces spikes of around ten large (3cm long) dramatic spidery flowers. The species is a strong grower and a mature plant produces a profusion of spikes.
The species makes a medium sized plant and we find it does well in pots or mounted as shown by the differnt plants here.
Pleurothallis is a large genus with diverse flowers and growth habits and a genus well worth exploring. They are found throughout South and Central America growing in a wide range of habitats including those that the Orchid Project has visited in Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Belize. We have found the greatest diversity in the cooler wetter mountain forests but some species do flourish in dryer warm lowland forest and on sun baked granite cliffs. Some pleurothallis species are real miniatures and most have small but fascinating flowers. Pleurothallis schweinfurthii with its large and dramatic flowers might be a good starting point for getting to know these interesting plants.
Pleurothallis schweinfurthii plants will be amongst the start of term specials offered on our shop during the first week of September.
Many orchids from Vanda family flower during the summer and this species is a lovely pendulous species that produces masses of flowers. The plants shown now hangs more than a metre from its 8cm basket.
Schoenorchid juncifolia flowers several times each year from its long pendulous stems and was last in flower in February. The species is native to Java and Borneo and in the wild it is found at around 1000m altitude. The forest at 1000m we explored in Borneo is evergreen with year round rainfall and so we grow the species shaded and damp. We find that the species is tolerates a wide range of temperatures and it grows well both in Cool Asia (minimum 12C) or in Warm Asia (minimum 16C) (and all our other sections actually) a very accommodating species.
We grow plants in baskets and let the stems hang downwards and we spray them daily.
Schoenorchis is an interesting genus that includes some very small species such as Scoenorchis fragrans as well as large growing plants such as todays orchid of the day.