Monday, December 20, 2010

Stelis purpurascens

Stelis purpurascens is a large and robust plant from Mexico, Central and South America.  The plant itself is about 25 cm tall and the flower spikes which come from the joint of leaf and stem add another 20 cm to the height of the plant.  It is really too large for my space and I am going to have to trade or sell it.

The individual flowers are slightly less than 1 cm in size, but their lack of size is made up for by the number of flowers the plant produces, each spike having as many as 75 flowers.  Interestingly, the flowers open and close in the course of day, opening when the lights go on, closing later and then opening again in the afternoon.

Masdevallia hirtzii

Masdevallia hirtzii is a small species from Ecuador and Peru and is named after a German orchid collector, Hirtz.  It is a relatively recent discovery, having been described in for the first time in 1989.  A prolific bloomer, the plant often obscured by the numerous flowers.  It belongs to the group of Masdevallias called Saltatrices, a group with tubular flowers and bright colors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii var. semi-alba

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii is, without doubt, the crown jewel of the miniature orchid world.  It is tiny, less than 2 cm tall, and has large colorful flowers that dwarf the plant and that last six to nine months.  The flowers are trumpet shaped, about 2.5 cm long and the same across the open front of the flower.

The species is from New Guinea and comes in many different color varieties, including red, orange, pink, and various bicolor forms.  This particular plant was purchased as a semi-alba variety but is pale yellow rather than white with the typical maroon band around the edge of the lip. 

This species can be quite temperamental and is considered difficult to grow.  I have another plant of the species that has not put out new growth for over a year.  This plant, however, seems to be quite vigorous.  It is grown mounted and with the highest light I can give it, just inches from the HO fluorescent bulbs I use.

The species requires cool temperatures and simply will not do well unless this requirement is met.  It is reputed to hate fertilizer, but in my conditions gets watered with a weak fertilizer solution (a pinch of 10-30-10 in 2 gallons of water) every 2 out of three waterings.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Aerangis fastuosa

I have a weakness for white flowers, and the fact that these are fragrant at night adds to their appeal.  The species is from Madagascar and is supposed to require warm  temperatures, but it does well for me in intermediate to cool conditions.

The plant is approximately 8 cm from leaf tip to leaf tip and the flowers are about 5 cm in size with long tails.  The plant blooms in late winter to spring for me.  It is one of the smaller Aerangis species and does not seem to be at all difficult.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Masdevallia Sunny Angel

One of my favorite Masdevallia hybrids. The cross was very variable, but I love the bright yellow of this plant and the open flowers. It's small to medium size and not very fussy. Like all my Masdevallias, I grow it in sphagnum in a net pot.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dendrobium seranicum

This is another Dendrobium from the Oxyglossum group, though it does not come from New Guinea, like so many of the others. This species is native to the Molucca Islands, but comes from high elevations and requires cool temperatures.  Its name, in fact, means "mountain dweller."

Each growth with its narrow leaves is about 10 cm tall and the flowers a little over 2 cm, but it blooms on the older leafless pseudobulbs and blooms during the winter.  Like most of the species in this group the paired flowers are very long lasting, staying in good condition for months.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ophidion cunabulum

Ophidion cunabulum, formerly classified as Cryptophoranthus cunabulus, is a tiny orchid in the Pleurothallid group.  The lance-shaped leaves are approximately 5 cm long and the flowers about 1.5 cm, blooming, one or two flowers at a time successively in the pendant spikes.

The plant is from Colombia and both names refer to the shaped of the flower, Ophidon referring to the snake-head shape of the flowers and cunabulum meaning "cradle-shaped."  The plant is easy to grow and blooms freely over a long period of time.

My plant is in a small bonsai pot with the flowers dangling over the sides, but the plant could also very be grown on a mount.  It is tolerant of different temperatures, but prefers fairly high humidity.  I grow the plant under rather high light and the leaves and flower spikes are shorter than they would be otherwise.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dendrobium Illusion #3

Dendrobium Illusion is a hybrid of the micro-miniature Dendrobium cuthbertsonii and the large cane-type Dendrobium lawesii.  It has short, upright canes that are reminiscent of lawesii, but only a few inches tall.  The flowers are most like cutherbertsonii, but it is easier to grow and freer blooming than that species.  In fact, because the flowers last so long - up to six months - the three plants I have are never out of flower.  This one has the shortest canes and the best flowers and is in a 1.5 inch clay pot, though the pot is not visible because of the moss.


These are the parents.  The first photo is of Dendrobium lawesii and the second of Dendrobium cuthbertsonii.  Both are very variable in color, so I suppose this cross could be make to bloom in all the colors of the rainbow.

A link to a post showing another plant of this cross is here:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Maxillaria tenuifolia

Know as the coconut orchid for its scent - it smells exactly like fresh coconut - Maxillaria tenuifolia is from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  It is easy to grow and a common orchid in collections, often growing into very large clumps with hundreds of flowers.

Because it grows into a large specimen plant so quickly it is an orchid I no longer grow.  The plant itself, however, is very reasonably sized, with 3-4 cm flat pseudobulbs and a single narrow, 20-25 cm leaf at the top of the pseudobulb.  The 4-5 cm flowers arise from the base of the pseudobulbs.

The genus name, Maxillaria, refers to the jaw-like base of the lip in this species and other larger-flowered species in the genus.  The species name, tenuifolia, refers to the narrow, grass-like foliage of the plant.  It is an attractive plant with large and beautiful flowers.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Angraecopsis breviloba

This tiny miniature, related to Angraecum, Aerangis and the other Angraecoids, is from Kenya and Tanzania.  The plant itself is only a couple of cm in size and bears long flower spikes, around 15 cm, that are covered with small, almost transparent greenish white flowers.  The nectar in the spurs is visible in the pictures, indicating how nearly transparent the flowers are.  It seems very adaptable, since even though it is from warmer areas grows well with my cool-growing plants.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Masdevallia decumana

My mounted Masdevallia decumana is in bloom again.  I have several plants, but this is the only one I have mounted and it seems to grow and bloom better than the potted plants.  Its blooms are somewhat short-lived, but it is spectacular when in full bloom.  The species is from Ecuador.

Acinopetala chontalensis

Formerly Masdevallia chontalensis (still that if you don't accept Dr. Luer's new classifications), this small species is a real jewel.  It is from Nicaragua and is less than 6 cm tall with bloom that appear on short spikes just above the foliage.  It almost always has two flowers per spike and the flowers, though small are very colorful.  It is named for Chonal County in Nicaragua, one of its native habitats.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lepanthes manabina

This species, synonymous with Lepanthes mastodon, is from the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia, and is in many ways a very unusual species.  It is pendant and has two different kinds of leaves.  The larger, flowering leaves are on stems 10 cm or more in length, the leaves themselves a bit longer than 5 cm.  These leaves are covered with coarse hairs on the upper surface and bear a succession of unusually shaped and colored flowers on ever lengthening thread-like inflorescences.  The other leaves are smaller, only about 3 cm, and are borne on stems only 3-4 cm long.  These leaves do not have the coarse hairs of the blooming leaves.

Each new growth has the typical sheathes of the genus Lepanthes.  All the leaves are a dark reddish-green and are very attractive in their own right, but the flowers are the real attraction.  They are a little over 1.5 cm tall and are an attractive reddish mahogany color with touches of yellow, red and green.  The flowers not only bloom successively on their spikes, but each leaf will continue to produce new spikes so that each may have several flowers open and so that the plant is never out of flower.  The name manabina refers to a western Ecuadorian state where this plant is found.

Dendrobium masarangense var. masarangense

The name of this tiny species is bigger than the plant or the flowers.  The plant is a tiny cluster of thin pseudobulbs and needle-like leaves about 7 cm tall and the flowers are about 1.5 cm, growing in pairs and showing themselves just above the pseudo-bulbs.

The plant is from New Guinea and is another one of the Oxyglossum Dendrobiums.  It is a lowland species and somewhat warmer growing than many of the others.  It varies some in color from white to pale yellow, green, or orange, the flowers in every case being nearly translucent.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lepanthes ingridiana

This is one of my favorite Lepanthes with its colorful and unusual flowers.  It is also one of the larger plants in the genus.  The plant itself is about 15 cm tall, though my plant seems to get taller with each new growth.  It bears a single 5 cm leaf on an upright stem with the typical bracts of a Lepanthes.  The plants are native to Ecuador and comes from higher elevations.

The bright yellow spidery flowers are huge for the size of the plant.  Fully extended they would be around 7 cm long, but they tend to hang in a kind of half-circle under the leaves.  The flowers appear successively with a new bud forming as the previous flower opens.  The plant is almost always in flower, therefore, with each new growth adding its succession of flowers to those already blooming.

Dendrobium sulphureum var. sulphureum

This is another miniature Dendrobium from section Oxyglossum and from New Guinea.  My plant is about 6 cm tall and produces 3-4 cm flowers.  As with all the flowers in this section they are very long-lasting and the plant seems to be always in bloom.  I grow it mounted and give it as much light as I possibly can, keeping it just inches below the HO lights in the orchidarium in which it grows.

Scaphosepalum anchoriferum

Scaphosepalum is a genus related to Masdevallia and Pleurothallis and belonging, therefore to the Pleurothallid alliance. All the species in the genus, a total of about 15, have very unusual flowers. This species comes from Costa Rica and Panama. It is around 8 cm tall, with pendant spikes about 5 cm long that bloom repeatedly, one flower at a time. The flowers themselves are 1 cm long and very intricate and highly colored. The plant likes cool and moist conditions and because it spikes are pendant needs to be mounted or grown in a small mesh basket.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trisetella klingeri

I purchased this plant as Trisetella sororia, which it most definitely is not.  I believe instead that it is Trisetella klingeri, from Ecuador.  The plant is tiny, like all Trisetellas, only about 3-4 cm tall, and the flowers, born on 6 cm spikes are about 1 cm in size.  This plant was at one time classified as a Masdevallia, but was separated into its own genus in the 1980's.  It is named after an American orchidist.

Platystele ovatilabia

This tiny species is native to Mexico and all of Central America.  Very widespread, it is also tolerant of different temperatures, though it needs good humidity.  The plant it self is about 3 cm tall and grows as a mat of narrow leaves.  The flower spikes, which are about the same length as the leaves, carry 4-5 flowers at a time and continue to bloom for a lengthy period.

Trisetella dressleri

Trisetella is a small genus of tiny orchids that used to be classified as Masdevallias, and the resemblance is obvious.  Trisetella dressleri is from Panama and is named after an American botanist, Robert Dressler.

The plant is only 3 cm tall and the flowers about 1 cm in size.  The plant will do well either in a small pot or mounted, but needs cool temperatures since it is from the high cloud forests.