This unusual Maxillaria species has flowers with long curling petals and a strong pleasant fragrance. The flowers are produced in profusion from last year’s pseudobulb each on individual stems. Looking at photos online this is a variable species which reflects its wide range across South America (Eastern Brazil to Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador) where it grows in both lowland forest and montane forest up to 1800m. We find that the species does best in our Cool Americas section.
We particularly like the way the petals and sepals appear to have had their tips dipped in yellow dye.
This is a small growing species but not the neatest. The 2cm equitant growths (the leaves fold around the stem so that they overlap the one opposite and above in a fan shape) produce vegetative shoots that produce another growth a few cm above the original. The end result is a scrambling plant that then produces cute little flowers (shown here) on thin 10cm spikes.
The species is endemic to Cuba which makes it rather special. We are planning a permanent display at the Bristol Aquarium to highlight the importance of Islands in biodiversity and conservation and so Oncidium hawkesianum will be sure to feature. It is also known as Tolumnia hawkesianum.