WSBEorchids

365 days of orchids – day 597 – Odontoglossum multistelare

We have a number of very attractive species that are found labelled either Odontoglossum or Oncidium and we have adopted the approach of the International Odontoglossum Alliance and relabelled ours as Odontoglossums.

Odontoglossum multistelare is a cool growing species found in cloud forests at around 2000m altitude from Ecuador to Peru. The plant produces branched spikes of attractive flowers each summer and a small plant produces a lot of flower for its size.

Some names are better than others and multistellare meaning many starred seems a good choice for this species.

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365 days of orchids – day 596 – Pleurothallis grobyi

 

We have one of our favourite species in flower at the moment, a species that reminds us of the forests of South and Central America.

Pleurothallis grobyi is a delightful miniature species recorded from as far North as Mexico and as far south as Peru and Brazil. The clone we have here in cultivation originates from Ecuador but we have seen different forms of the species in Brazil, Belize and Guatemala. We have  found the species in both mountain cloud forest and shaded spots in hot lowland forest and so this is a very variable species or possibly one that should be spilt into several separate species.

The diversity is shown by some of the plants we found growing in Brazilian cloud forests around Macae de Cima in 2005. These included dark yellow striped forms, creamy forms and white forms.

All of the plants we found were growing in primary forest in shade with abundant moss growing around them suggesting that plants appreciate being grown wet and shaded in cultivation. We grow plants mounted on cork, in baskets and in pots and they succeed grown all of these ways with daily watering in Cool Americas.The picture below shows Callum Swift with a plant he found on a fallen branch that shows the conditions the plant grows in perfectly.

The plants we have found in lowland forests in Guatemala and Belize are restricted to mossy patches on dead fallen trees and branches and so are growing heavily shaded and much damper that the surrounding forest. The plants here also had shorter rounder leaves and whitand pink flowers. (Below)

Whichever the form, this is definitely a species to look out for.

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365 days of orchids – day 596 – Phalaenopsis equestris

We have featured a number of miniature phalaenopsis species and this is one of the most dramatic.

This miniature Phalaenopsis species is native to the Philippines and Southern Taiwan where it is reported growing as an epiphyte in lowland forest near streams.

The small flowers are produced on arching spikes that continue to grow for several months with successive flowers each lasting about a month.

This plant was deflasked about six years ago and grows very happily indoors where it flowers every year and grows in a small china coffee cup (with drainage holes drilled with a diamond drill bit)

It’s habitat suggests a need for constant warm temperatures and so we find the greenhouse a little cool in winter but a centrally heated house perfect.

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365 days of orchids – day 595 – Coelogyne schultesii

This unusual Coelogyne species 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. Our large plant is about to be split after flowering and so we will be able to offer these for sale again next year.

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 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.

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365 days of orchids – day 594 – Aerangis punctata

This is a warm growing, miniature species native to Madagascar and our smallest Aerangis species.

The plants produce very large flowers for the size of the plant on spikes about 5cm long and bare 1-2 flowers during the summer. The flowers are short lived and are fragrant at night.

The leaves are about 2cm long but the flowers are 5cm across with extraordinary 10cm spurs that carry the nectar for pollinating moths.

I am delighted to report that the seed from last years flowering has germinated well in the propagation laboratory and we will have lots of these delightful miniatures ready to take out of flask (we will mount them from flask) in about twelve months.

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