Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Epidendrum escobarianum

I purchased this about a year ago from Ecuagenera in Ecuador.  They sent it when they were in the USA for a show, along with a number of other Ecuadorian orchid species.  When I purchased it, it was only a few mostly bare canes on an old piece of tree fern, but it has since grown vigorously enough that I have been able to send a small division of it to a friend.

The plant is semi-pendant with canes 10 cm long.  The plant tends to produce new canes a few cm from the base of the older canes, so the plant gradually gets longer and longer.  It has beautifully pattered foliage, though the patterning fades as the new canes age.  The leaves are displayed in the same way as a Dichaea, with the leaves all more or less in the same plane.

The flowers are produced in pairs at the tip of the canes and though not untypical for an Epidendrum of this type are quite large and very beautiful.  They measure around 8 cm from top to bottom and come from a rather large sheath that looks at first like another leaf.  The flowers are very waxy and very long lasting as well and are displayed back to back.

I had this plant at a recent meeting of our local orchid society and was told that it had the reputation of being very difficult to grow.  I have not found it so.  I give it as much light as I am able and water it daily without giving it a rest.  And, as with all my other orchids, it receives a tiny bit of fertilizer in nearly every watering (a pinch of 15-30-15 fertilizer to two gallons of water).

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