Thursday, January 19, 2017

Porroglossum tripollex

Porroglossum is a genus of miniature orchids all of which have spring-loaded moveable, insect-trapping lips.  When the flower is disturbed by a visiting insect, the lip springs up trapping the insect against the column and hopefully effecting pollination.  The genus is related to Masdevallia and includes about 50 species.

In these photos the flowers all have their insect-trapping lips in the open position, except for the flower in the last photo.  The plant is difficult to photograph with the lips open because the slightest disturbance cause the lips to snap shot.  The flowers are 1.5 cm on 6-8 flower spikes on a 3 cm plant.

This small plant is Porroglossum tripollex from Ecuador.  I have two of these, one with brown "tails" and this with yellow.  The flower looks to me like a bird's beak, but tripollex means "three thumbs," a resemblance I do not see.  It is cool to cold growing and comes from montane forests.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dendrobium hasseltii

Dendrobium hasseltii is a variable species both in plant size and flower color.  My plant is very small, only 8 cm, and the 2 cm flowers have very good color.  I've found the plant difficult to bloom and this is only the second flower I've had on it.  It requires cool to cold temperatures and I am providing that, but learned recently that it likes to be dried out a bit in the winter, so I'll have to do that and see if it produces more flowers then.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Trisetella regia

Trisetella regia is, relatively speaking, the giant of the genus, and well-named regia or "regal."  Most of the plants in the genus are tiny, only a few centimeters tall, with small flowers (1.5-2 cm) on short flower spikes.  This species is 7 cm tall with long 20 cm flower spikes and 4 cm flowers.  The flowers are typical in shape and color for the genus and have the long "tails" for which the genus is named.  Their obvious resemblance to Masdevallias had them classified as Masdevallias at one time.

Paphiopedilum venustum

Sometimes referred to as the "Brain Pouch Paphiopedilum" for obvious reasons, the Slipper Orchid is from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal.  It is also desirable for its beautiful foliage, a rather uncommon feature in orchids.  The flowers are not large but it is easy to grow and blooms faithfully on every new growth.  My plant is grown on a windowsill in moderate light and in a bark mix.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Masdevallia angulifera 'J & L'

Masdevallia angulifera is from Colombia and belongs to the Saltarices group of Masdevallias.  It has all the features of that group, colorful, tubular flowers lined with glandular hairs and a bulge at the base of the tube.  Like the other plants in the group it is small, 12 cm, with 2.5 cm flowers.  This clone is particularly dark and has been awarded by the American Orchid Society.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mediocalcar decoratum

Mediocalcar decoratum is an unusual miniature, mat-forming species from the highlands of New Guinea.  It is cool growing and does well either on a mount or in a pot, but needs room to ramble.  The individual growths are about 1 cm, have a thick fleshy stem and a fan of four tiny fleshy leaves at the top.  Each new growth begins near the top of the previous growth, forming an ever-lengthening chain.  The flowers, 0.5 cm in size, come from the base of the growths and look like tiny candy-corns.  Though cool-growing the plant is very easy to grow and is very tolerant of different conditions.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Masdevallia hirtzii

Very typical of the section of Masdevallia to which it belongs (Saltatrices) with its brightly colored, tubular flowers, Masdevallia hirtzii is from Ecuador and Peru.  It is a very small plant, only 8 cm tall, and produces an abundance of 4 cm flowers if well grown.  It is supposed to be temperature tolerant but I grow my plant intermediate to cool in sphagnum moss in a net pot.  It blooms faithfully for me every year in late autumn and winter.